Survey unifies women around the world for equal pay

It’s about time! But there’s still a little more to be done …

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Women and equal pay is a hot topic in the U.S. lately, but it’s always interesting to hear what people around the world are saying about it. To that end, an interesting survey of nearly 149,000 women and men in 142 different countries and territories has just been released. The goal of the Gallup and International Labour Organization study was to understand everything from gender attitudes toward working women, the biggest obstacles in the workplace for women, as well as who is getting the most (and least) access to technology.

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According to this newly-released study, the vast majority of women and men in the world believe it is acceptable for a woman in the family to have a paid job outside the home, if she wants one. Not surprisingly, North America continues to lead the way for women’s empowerment with 98 percent of men and 99 percent of women agreeing to that statement. Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean were close behind. In stark contrast, only 57 percent of Northern African and Arab States men agree while 79 percent of Northern African women and 67 percent of Arab States women do.

Uniting many women in the world, most agree the biggest challenge is the “balance between work and family.” (Yep, yep!) Unfair treatment, particularly in developing countries, is the next greatest worry. Across the board, a large percentage of women, including in North America, believe unequal pay is another dominating concern. So, hello 2017, it’s high time women get aligned with fair treatment and pay!

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In addition, while many of us are tethered to our technology, it may be surprising and unsettling to learn only 48 percent of the women in the world have internet access while 53 percent of men do. “Worldwide, women lag behind men in their access to mobile phones and the Internet,” the study reveals. The biggest technology gender gaps are in Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and the Arab States.

Despite some trouble spots, we find it heartening that many women and men in the world share common ground on women’s roles in the working world. Maybe unity isn’t so far off?

Ellen Willson Hoover
Ellen Willson Hoover
Ellen Willson Hoover is a freelance writer and former Capitol Hill aide and lobbyist. She writes about travel, healthy living, parenting, and social issues and is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Martha's Vineyard Magazine and others.

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