Ipsos global study shows majority of women around the world believe there are unequal rights in their country

  • Nine in ten men and women say they believe in equal opportunities
  • Three-quarters of women say inequality still exists in their country and 40% of women say they personally don’t have equality
  • One in five men and women think women are inferior to men, which increases to almost half in India and Russia
  • One in four men and women say they are scared to speak out for equal rights

On the eve of International Women’s Day, new data from Ipsos Global @dvisor shows that although the vast majority of people in 24 countries around the world say they believe men and women should be treated equally (88% on average), most still think the current situation is one of inequality in terms of social, political and/or economic rights (72% on average).

Women are more positive when it comes to their own lives – six in ten on average agree they have “full equality with men in their country and the freedom to reach their full dreams and aspirations” – although this still means that in several countries many women disagree.

The survey, among online adults aged under 65 in Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States, also finds a majority on average define themselves as a feminist (58% on average), even though a quarter (24%) say they are scared to speak up for equal rights – especially in India.

Around one in five on average say they believe women are inferior to men or that women should just stay at home, although it is higher in India and Russia in particular. Commenting on the findings, David Elliott, Director Ipsos Social Research Institute – NSW said: “Ipsos’ latest international study suggests that the principle of gender equality is making more progress around the world than the reality. It’s encouraging that the vast majority of both men and women around the world believe in equal opportunity, and that ‘feminism’ doesn’t seem to be a minority pursuit – but at the same time most still believe that true equality of rights is not here yet.

“There also remains a minority of both sexes who believe in male superiority – but perhaps most concerning are the one in four who are scared to speak up for equal rights, especially in some pockets of the world. When it comes to Australia, we tend to be around the international average on most measures, but even so, seven in ten of us think women and men don’t have full equal rights at the moment, and only six in ten actively support women’s rights.”

Key findings – including the main differences between countries and between men and women, are outlined below:

Does equality exist?

  • Nine in ten around the world (88% on average) and in Australia (92%) say they believe in equal opportunities for men and women, and the figure is high among both men and women (86% and 89% respectively). A clear majority in each of the 24 countries believes in this (lowest in Japan at 71%).
  • However, 72% on average globally (and 73% in Australia) say that inequality currently exists in terms of social, political, and/or economic rights, especially among women (by 76% to 68% of men). Again, a majority in every country believes inequality exists, with the exception of Russia at only 42%.
  • Women, however, are more positive personally. On average, 60% agree that they have full equality with men in their country and the freedom to achieve their dreams and aspirations – but 40% disagree, with a similar proportion in Australia at 36%. However, in seven of the 24 countries a majority of women disagree, especially in Spain, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

Standing up for equal rights

  • On average, six in ten (58%) across the 24 countries say they would define themselves as feminist, with women more likely to do so than men (by 62% to 55%). Again Australians are around the average with 60% defining themselves as feminist. Less than half though in Germany, Russia, Japan and Hungary would call themselves feminist.
  • Seven in ten (68%) also claim to actively support women’s rights by speaking up to change things rather than just thinking about them (although this falls to just 28% in Japan). On this measure, Australia sits less positively, with 61% suggesting they speak up. Men are just as likely as women to say they actively speak up for women’s rights, and in some countries (Argentina, Canada and the US) are even more likely than women to do so.
  • However, one in four of both women and men say they are scared to speak up for equal rights for women 26% and 23% respectively). In Australia women demonstrate more fear than men in this regard (26% vs 21% respectively). Fear of speaking out among women is especially high in India (54%), Turkey (47%) and Brazil (41%), while in the US more men say they are scared to speak up than women (by 28% to 15%).

Gender roles

  • On average, one in five believe that women are inferior to men, or that women should not aspire to do anything outside of the household (18% and 17% respectively). In Australia 14% believe women are inferior to men, with men more likely to hold this view than women (17% vs 12%), while 14% believe women should not aspire to do anything outside of the household. On this later measure, the gender split is 16% of men vs 12% of women. Across the 24 countries as a whole, men are slightly more likely to believe that women should just stay at home (by 19% to 14%), although both genders are equally likely to believe that women are inferior. Attitudes in Russia and India stand out – almost half of those asked in those countries believe that women are inferior to men (46% each), as do one in three (33%) in Serbia.
  • A similar proportion, 25% on average, believe men are more capable of doing things in society such as working, earning money, being educated and teaching than women. In Australia, two in ten (21%) hold this view. Again, men are more likely to agree with this than women (by 29% to 21% globally and 26% to 16% in Australia), and belief is particularly high in China (56%), Russia (54%) and India (25%).

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  •  The data will be available at http://ipsos.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Global-Advisor-Feminism- Survey.pdf
  • In total 17,551 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed between January 20th – February 3rd, 2017. The survey was conducted in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America).
  • Approximately 1000+ individuals participated in each country with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
  • Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output generally reflects the overall population. 16 of the 24 countries surveyed generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States). Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.
  • Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With offices in 86 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.