Gender Equality Universally Embraced, but Inequalities Acknowledged

  • July 01, 2010

Fifteen years after the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women's Beijing Platform for Action proclaimed that "shared power and responsibility should be established between women and men at home, in the workplace and in the wider national and international communities," people around the globe embrace the document's key principles.

Almost everywhere, solid majorities express support for gender equality and agree that women should be able to work outside the home. Most also find a marriage in which both spouses share financial and household responsibilities to be more satisfying than one in which the husband provides for the family and the wife takes care of the house and children. In addition, majorities in most countries reject the notion that higher education is more important for a boy than for a girl.

Yet, despite a general consensus that women should have the same rights as men, people in many countries around the world say gender inequalities persist in their countries. Many say that men get more opportunities than equally qualified women for jobs that pay well and that life is generally better for men than it is for women in their countries. This is especially so in some of the wealthier nations surveyed. And while majorities in nearly every country surveyed express support for gender equality, equal rights supporters in most countries say that more changes are needed to ensure that women have the same rights as men.

Read the full report, Gender Equality Universally Embraced, but Inequalities Acknowledged on the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project Web site.