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Gender equality is improving globally, but too much may be expected of men: Survey

Gender equality is improving globally, but too much may be expected of men: Survey

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Among respondents across 32 markets, close to half noted that "things have gone so far in promoting women's equality, that men are being discriminated against."

The world may be moving in the right direction when it comes to supporting equality for women, but it could be coming at the expense of men and what is expected of them, a new global study has found.

The study, conducted by Ipsos in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, involved 22,508 adults across 32 countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and India (full list in survey details below).

Per the findings, compared to years before, there is now higher optimism that equality will be achieved in people's lifetimes (53% in 2023, vs 47% in 2019), and half the respondents believe life is better now for young women as compared to what it was for the previous generation.

Of those surveyed, many expressed concerns about the impact of equality on men, with about half (54%) agreeing that men are being expected to do too much to support equality (more than in 2019). At the same time, close to half (48%) agreed that things have gone so far in promoting women's equality, that men are being discriminated against.

Breaking the data down, women were more likely than men to agree that women won’t achieve equality unless men take action too (68 vs 61%), and women were less likely than men to believe that equality will be achieved in their lifetime (52% vs 58%). Further, men were more likely to believe that when it comes to giving women equal rights with men, things have gone far enough in their country (58% vs 49%); and more than half of all men (55%) believe that we have gone so far in promoting women’s equality that we are discriminating against men (vs 41% of women).

The above aside, two in five respondents (43%) have observed sexist comments from friends or family, discrimination at work, or sexual harassment in the last year.

Overall, on a broader term, the survey noted "slightly less confidence" that life today is better for young men than it is for young women. 

The respondents were given a series of statements and asked to indicate whether they strongly disagreed, somewhat disagreed, somewhat agreed, or strongly agreed with them. Excerpts of the statements are shared below, along with the global country average and the average for selected markets; refer to the report in the press release here for the full set of statements and country averages.

ipsos statements average iwdsurvey2023 website

 

Statement: Women won't achieve equality in ... unless men take actions to support women's rights too

  •  Percentage who somewhat/strongly agree:
    • Global average: 64%
    • Indonesia: 82%
    • India: 73%
    • Malaysia: 71%
    • Singapore: 62%
    • China: 61%
    • Thailand: 61%
    • South Korea: 55%
    • Japan: 50%
  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly disagree:
    • Global average: 26%
    • Indonesia: 14%
    • India: 21%
    • Malaysia: 20%
    • Singapore: 30%
    • China: 34%
    • Thailand: 33%
    • South Korea: 36%
    • Japan: 30%

Statement: When it comes to giving women equal rights with men, things have gone far enough in my country 

  •  Percentage who somewhat/strongly agree:
    • Global average: 54%
    • Indonesia: 80%
    • China: 79%
    • Thailand: 79%
    • India: 74%
    • Singapore: 62%
    • Malaysia: 59%
    • South Korea: 46%
    • Japan: 21%
  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly disagree:
    • Global average: 38%
    • Indonesia: 16%
    • China: 18%
    • Thailand: 16%
    • India: 22%
    • Singapore: 28%
    • Malaysia: 31%
    • South Korea: 49%
    • Japan: 59%

Statement: Men are being expected to do too much to support equality

  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly agree:
    • Global average: 54%
    • India: 76%
    • China: 69%
    • Malaysia: 65%
    • Singapore: 57%
    • Thailand: 55%
    • Indonesia: 53%
    • South Korea: 45%
    • Japan: 37%
  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly disagree:
    • Global average: 35%
    • India: 18%
    • China: 25%
    • Malaysia: 26%
    • Singapore: 30%
    • Thailand: 35%
    • Indonesia: 37%
    • South Korea: 45%
    • Japan: 42%

Statement: We have gone so far in promoting women's equality that we are discriminating against men

  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly agree:
    • Global average: 48%
    • Thailand: 78%
    • India: 74%
    • Malaysia: 52%
    • Singapore: 48%
    • South Korea: 46%
    • China: 45%
    • Indonesia: 37%
    • Japan: 30%
  • Percentage who somewhat/strongly disagree:
    • Global average: 43%
    • Thailand: 16%
    • India: 21%
    • Malaysia: 40%
    • Singapore: 43%
    • South Korea: 48%
    • China: 51%
    • Indonesia: 56%
    • Japan: 50%

Respondents were also asked questions around actions taken, their observations, as well as why they may not be talking about gender equality or taking actions towards it. One such question was: There are many different reasons why people may not talk about gender equality or take actions about it. What, if anything, has stopped you from taking action towards gender equality in the past year?

Out of all responses, people were most likely to say there is nothing stopping them from taking action towards gender equality and they take action regularly (17%), although this is still a minority. The top barriers to talking or taking action for gender equality are: never having seen an example of gender inequality (14%), thinking that nothing they do will make a difference (13%), and not knowing what to talk about or what to do (11%).

ipsos question actions genderequality average iwdsurvey2023 website

Zooming in on one of the responses – "I am worried it will damage my own career/situation", globally, nearly one in ten (8%) are worried that taking action towards gender equality will damage their career/situation, with men and women being equally concerned.

  • India: 18%
  • China: 15%
  • Malaysia: 13%
  • Singapore: 12%
  • Thailand: 11%
  • Indonesia: 11%
  • South Korea: 7%
  • Japan: 3%

Read the full survey findings here


Survey details

Ipsos interviewed a total of 22,508 adults aged 18-74 in the US, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore, and 16-74 in 24 other markets between 22 December2022 and 6 January 2023.

The sample consists of approximately 2,000 individuals in Japan, 1,000 individuals each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals each in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

As shared by Ipsos, the survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more 'connected' segment of their population. The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data. 'The global country average' reflects the average result for all the countries and markets where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market and is not intended to suggest a total result.


Image / Shutterstock

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