Women and Families Across the World

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The FINANCIAL — According to the Ipsos MORI Global Trends Survey 2017, due out on the 2nd May, most people take a liberal view towards the role of women (although there are signs of a small recovery in traditional attitudes towards the role of women in four European countries).

In a global online survey of adults aged under 65 in 22 countries, only four in ten (37%) believe that “the role of women in society is to be good mothers and wives”, while many more (58%) disagree.

When it comes to parenting, however, traditional views are more prevalent. A majority across the 22 countries think that it is better for parents of children to be married rather than unmarried (57%), and even more strongly that parents today do not take enough responsibility for the behaviour of their children (77%). The research also shows clear differences of opinion between emerging vs established economies, between men and women, and most notably, between those with religious faith and those without.

Across 22 countries in only three do most think the role of women is to be good mothers and wives – Indonesia (76%), Russia (69%) and India (64%). More liberal views are clearly in the majority in most established economies (although less so in Germany and the US), but in four Western European countries there have been significant increases in agreement with the more traditional view: in Germany (up ten points since 2014 to 41%), France (up eight to 24%), Spain (up seven to 19%) and Sweden (up eight to 17%). There have also been significant increases in India (up seven points to 64%), and in Turkey (up 11 points to 47%).

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Men are more likely than women to think women should be wives and mothers (by 41% to 34%, on average), but there is an even greater divide by religious belief. Those with religious beliefs are almost twice as likely to side with the traditional view on gender roles than those who describe themselves as agnostic or atheist (by 42% to 24%).


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