More Than 25% Of People Worldwide Think Women Shouldn't Work

Illustrated by Isabel Castillo Guijarro.
Why we need feminism, part zillion:
A huge new poll from Gallup and the International Labour Organization reveals that a quarter of people worldwide prefer women stay home instead of do paid work. The sweeping survey reached nearly 149,000 adults in 142 countries, asking men and women questions about challenges, discrimination, opportunities, and women's financial contributions to their households.
The survey was conducted in 2016 and released this past Wednesday for International Women’s Day, as Slate reports. The pollsters say it's representative of more than 99% of the world’s population.
For the employment-status question, male participants were given three options: "Would you PREFER that the women in your family work at paid jobs, or that they stay at home and take care of your family and the housework, or would you prefer that they do both?" The female participants were asked the same, in reference to themselves.
Worldwide, 29% of men said they thought women should stay home, while 28% said women should only do paid work. The numbers were similar among women: 27% preferred staying home and 29% wanted to work outside the home. Meanwhile, 40% of women and 38% of men preferred women do both. This is telling, given that women still do the majority of housework and caregiving around the world — though this "household-chore gap" is slowly shrinking. In practice, this second shift often keeps women from attaining leadership positions at work and allows us less free time for other pursuits.
The survey showed that there were regional differences in attitudes. While close to half of men in both North Africa and Arab nations preferred that women stay home, in North America 21% hold this opinion (which is still really high). Men in Northern, Southern, and Western Europe were the wokest, in comparison: Only 12% wanted women to stay home.
One of the survey's most heartbreaking findings shows just how much cultural and family norms can hold women back. It tells us that 36% of women who live in "households in which it is not acceptable for women to work outside the home" do want to go to work. Also, of the more than half of women worldwide who are not in the workforce right now, 58% wish they were.
When asked about their biggest work-related challenge, women most frequently said it's balancing work and family life, followed by affordable child care. While women in developed nations most frequently cited wage equality as a concern — Iceland just made huge strides in this department, and every other country should follow suit — those in developing nations said they most commonly struggled with unfair treatment, harassment, and workplace abuse.
The survey found that younger women were, overall, more positive about women's opportunities in the job market. Women between the ages of 15 and 29 "are more likely to say that similarly qualified women have better opportunities to find good jobs" (29%) than that they have worse opportunities (25%). However, younger women in Latin America and the Caribbean weren't as optimistic: "In this instance, the younger the women are, the less optimistic they are about opportunities for women," even though they were the most likely to perceive equality in the job market.
You can find the entire survey, which includes the answers broken down by country, here. Then, check out our favorite career-success advice so you can slay it at work and shut down the sexist haters.

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