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Will the G7 Lead by Example on Gender Equality?

Blog

Will the G7 Lead by Example on Gender Equality?

by Sofia Kluch and Jessi Gordon
Will the G7 Lead by Example on Gender Equality?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government said gender equality will still be a top priority at the G7 Summit that starts Friday, despite concerns that tensions between the U.S. and other leaders could overshadow the event. If it does get time on the agenda, will Canada and its G7 counterparts be leading by example on this issue, which Trudeau calls an "economic imperative"? Gallup took a close look at various aspects of the lives of working women and men in G7 countries to find out.

How G7 Women Rate Their Lives

The attitudes and experiences of men and women in G7 countries are similar on a wide range of topics that Gallup surveys through the Gallup World Poll. In most cases, gender is less of a differentiator than other factors, such as age, education and particularly income. But, as is true in the rest of the world, women in the G7 lag behind their male peers in the percentage who have "good jobs" and are able to reap the benefits that working full time for an employer can bring to their lives.

With a job comes income, and as it does elsewhere in the world, household income matters to how both working men and women in G7 countries see their lives. The percentage who rate their current and future lives positively enough to be considered "thriving" -- based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale -- rises with their incomes. In fact, overall, working women are almost identical to men in this regard.

Percentage of Working Women and Men "Thriving" Across the G7
By income group
Overall Poorest 20% Second 20% Middle 20% Fourth 20% Richest 20%
% % % % % %
Women employed full time for an employer 53 44 46 50 57 61
Men employed full time for an employer 50 43 44 49 53 57
Based on aggregated Gallup World Poll data from G7 member countries collected from 2005 to 2017
Gallup World Poll

Across the G7, working women in the poorest 20% of households are less likely to rate their lives positively enough to be considered "thriving" than women in the middle- to upper-income levels. But these levels are far from uniform across the G7. Overall, Canada has the highest percentage of women thriving across all income levels, with 67% of the poorest 20% of the population considered thriving, compared with 81% of the richest 20%.

Working Japanese women are the least likely in the G7 to be thriving; 17% of women in the poorest income group are thriving, compared with 32% in the richest group. Interestingly, working Japanese men mirror their female counterparts because they too have the lowest levels of thriving among their G7 peers (working men): 18% of the Japanese men in the lowest income group are thriving, compared with 25% in the highest income group.

Percentage of Working Women Thriving Across the G7
By income group
Poorest 20% Second 20% Middle 20% Fourth 20% Richest 20% Difference between poorest and richest (pct. pts.)
United States 59% 59% 60% 71% 73% 14
United Kingdom 45% 46% 54% 58% 65% 20
France 31% 42% 44% 43% 53% 22
Germany 45% 41% 48% 54% 60% 15
Italy 27% 24% 34% 36% 38% 11
Japan 17% 21% 24% 32% 32% 15
Canada 67% 68% 70% 79% 81% 14
Based on aggregated data from Gallup World Polls conducted from 2005 to 2017
Gallup World Pll

How Women in the G7 Feel They Are Treated

In January 2018, Trudeau -- while speaking at the World Economic Forum -- underscored the importance of how the #MeToo movement and the women's marches across the world are requiring leaders to act and show that "truly time is up." He added that leaders at Davos must not forget those who are not and will likely never be at Davos, highlighting the privileged access of attendees, typically considered the global elite.

The positive news for G7 countries in Gallup's data is that when it comes to respect, similar, high percentages of men and women say they felt treated with respect the previous day -- with percentages increasing slightly with income levels. However, even the highest-income women trail the lowest-income men in regard to whether women in their countries are treated with respect. Women see more variation across income levels than men on whether women are treated with respect.

With the exception of Japan, there are differences by income when women were asked if they, themselves were treated with respect all day yesterday. The highest-income working women were most likely to say they were respected. In all other countries, the poorest working women were significantly less likely to experience respect compared with at least one other quintile of working women.

Percentage of Working Women Who Feel Treated With Respect Across the G7
By income group
Poorest 20% Second 20% Middle 20% Fourth 20% Richest 20% Difference between poorest and richest (pct. pts.)
United States 81% 88% 89% 90% 91% 10
United Kingdom 89% 87% 92% 91% 93% 4
France 91% 88% 91% 93% 95% 4
Germany 89% 93% 93% 91% 93% 4
Italy 79% 96% 94% 93% 93% 14
Japan 69% 67% 73% 75% 70% 1
Canada 89% 90% 89% 93% 95% 6
Based on aggregated data from Gallup World Polls conducted between 2005 and 2017
Gallup World Poll

Working women living in high-income households have different interactions -- likely at work and elsewhere -- that leave them with different perceptions about the respect they receive personally and the respect that women overall in their country receive. The Gallup World Poll also asks perceptions of whether women in their country are treated with respect. Globally, women are less likely than men to say that women in their countries are treated with respect and dignity. The G7 countries are no different.

Although women in the lowest income group are generally the least likely to say women are treated with respect and dignity in their country, in some countries -- like Germany -- the differences are small among working women. In other countries -- like Japan -- women's perceptions of respect vary greatly across the economic spectrum. Japanese women in the lowest income group are least likely to say women are treated with respect (47%) and the highest income group is most likely to say women are treated with respect (71%), still far below high income working women in other countries.

Though the G7 countries mirror each other when it comes to being treated with respect, working women in the G7 have vastly different perceptions of how women are treated.

Percentage of Working Women Who Say Women in Their Countries Are Respected
By income group
Poorest 20% Second 20% Middle 20% Fourth 20% Richest 20% Difference between poorest and richest (pct. pts.)
United States 61% 59% 62% 77% 69% 8
United Kingdom 84% 89% 90% 87% 90% 6
France 66% 76% 79% 78% 81% 15
Germany 78% 82% 79% 78% 79% 1
Italy 66% 67% 69% 62% 68% 2
Japan 47% 59% 58% 70% 71% 24
Canada 84% 88% 82% 87% 93% 9
Based on aggregated data from Gallup World Polls conducted between 2005 and 2017
Gallup World Poll

Implications

Because it is integral to achieving each of the Sustainable Development Goals, advancing gender equality and women's empowerment was initially planned to be a key agenda item at the G7 Summit. Melinda Gates, the co-Chair of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, noted recently in a paid NYT piece, "Without data equality, there is no gender equality." Gallup data highlight the different experiences that working women in G7 countries have across the economic spectrum and compared with their male peers. Gates and the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council have called for the increased use of gender data for policymaking across the world. In addition to these recommendations, Trudeau's soon-to-be-unveiled gender equality plan would benefit from including strategies on how to address these discrepancies and offer a solution to continue measurement until parity is reached.

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Gallup

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