Apr 30, 2020 - World

Global poll: Wide support for gender equality, except when jobs are scarce

Adapted from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals
Adapted from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

The vast majority of people across 34 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center say it's important for women to have the same rights as men — but majorities in many countries still believe men should take priority when jobs are scarce.

The big picture: Opinions vary widely across the countries as to whether men currently have better lives than women, with majorities in countries like France (70%), Sweden (62%) and the U.S. (57%) believing that is the case, but pluralities in Poland, Russia, Nigeria and India believing men and women have equally good lives.

  • Women are more likely to say men currently have better lives than women — particularly in Greece, Slovakia, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Hungary and Turkey.
  • In African countries like Kenya and South Africa, upwards of one-third of respondents believe women currently have better lives than men. That's nearly as many as believe men have better lives.
  • In Japan, 77% of men say women already have or will have the same rights as men, compared to 58% of women.

There are also major divides over whether men should have greater access to scarce jobs.

  • Most respondents across the Middle East, Africa and Asian-Pacific regions said men should have preferential treatment during a job shortage.
  • Just 13% in the U.S. feel that way, compared to 79% in India, 75% in the Philippines and 52% in South Korea.
  • Majorities in all four African countries surveyed believe men should take priority, as do many in Mexico (39%), Russia (45%) and Italy (40%).

The flipside: While majorities in many countries feel women have fewer employment opportunities, a median of 81% across the 34 countries believe women have equal access to a good education, and 63% that they have equal opportunities to express political opinions.

Worth noting: The U.S. is the only country surveyed where men (93%) were more likely than women (89%) to say gender equality is important.

Go deeper: Women's equality reframed

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