Women often trail men in global workplaceAssociated Press
NEW YORK—Women in nearly every region of the world are less likely than men to work the number of hours they want, according to a new Gallup poll that spoke with more than 187,000 adults worldwide.
The study released Thursday shows found the widest gap in Ecuador and Saudi Arabia, where women were 23 percent less likely than men to be employed at capacity. In the United States, the gap is 9 percentage points.
“Basically what it means is, its people who are working for an employer the number of hours they want to be working,” said co-author Jenny Marlar. “I was personally surprised at the number of countries where there was such a big difference.”
The reasons for the large gaps were not clear, but Marlar said the lag for women is probably strongly related to education and to local culture.
The study excluded people who are self-employed.
Rounding out the top 10 countries where the gender gap is the greatest are Bolivia, Honduras, Bahrain, Oman, El Salvador, Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius. In all, the gap was 15 percentage points or more.
One seeming surprise was Italy, where women trail men by 13 percentage points. It was the only western European country with a double-digit gap. “I don’t have a good reason for why,” Marlar said.
The top 10 countries where women were most likely to be working the number of hours they wanted to be working for an employer are Kuwait, Singapore, Sweden, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Israel, Malta and Estonia.
And women aren’t trailing men everywhere. Men lag women in a couple dozen countries, led by Ireland, where women are more likely than men by 15 percentage points to be employed at capacity.
Interviews were conducted in 2011 with adults in 144 countries.
Gallup started the poll in 2009 and does it every year. Since the poll began after the start of Great Recession, it’s hard to tell what role the weakened global economy has played in the results.
But the message remains the same every year, Marlar said: “There are not as many good opportunities for women.”