The Gist: Women are more confident in Serena Williams’ abilities to take home a title at Wimbledon than men.
I recently watched the HBO documentary series, Being Serena, and it’s what led me to ask a poll question about the public perception of Serena Williams’ upcoming Wimbledon performance. Specifically, getting at if people thought she could succeed soon after giving birth.
We found that asking if she would win her eighth title at this year’s Wimbledon wasn’t a simple yes or no question.
Slightly more adults think she will bring home her eighth Wimbledon title than not. But, bringing gender into it, and excluding those without an opinion:
Let’s paint the picture first: She is the only tennis player in history—man or woman–to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She is the only player ever to have won two Grand Slams seven times each (7 Wimbledon titles and 7 Australian Open titles). (via Wikipedia).
Her past success aside, the graph above highlights that 25% of US adult respondents think she wouldn’t bounce back with another Wimbledon win in her first big series since giving birth. The majority of those who don’t think she will succeed—58%—are men.
Of the 28% who think she will, 64% are women. It could be that these women are also understanding of motherhood, as we found they are more likely to be parents.
Is this more about women athletes not being taken as seriously as their male counterparts?
Can’t tell you that, but when asking if Williams is one of the greatest athletes in respondent’s lifetime, compared to gender, here’s what we got:
Men are more likely to answer no.
We also found the following:
Of those who don’t think Serena will take the title this year, 44% of them also oppose the US Open’s announcement to essentially, in a win for mothers, not change players’ standings (therefore setting them back) if they took time off to have a baby and missed an event.
Lastly, and I can’t tell you what the results mean, but men are less likely to be favorable to Serena Williams, to begin with:
Wimbledon is still underway, and Williams is advancing. We’ll see if she earns a title, but results alone; so far, she’s killing it.
We wonder how widespread this perception of success, or perception of failure, is off the tennis court. This is the perfect segway into an upcoming ebook on women and the workplace we’ll release later this summer.
Editor’s Note: The results of these questions are often preliminary and do not yet incorporate the scientific rigor of our official or published research. For fully scientific results to these or any of our ongoing research, please contact us.