One Fifth of North-Americans Still Think a Woman’s Place is in the Home

by Rachel Withers


The wage gap is a huge problem, with women still paid a fraction of their male counterparts. For white women, this is 79c for every white man’s dollar; for women of color, this number drops to 60c for black women and 55c for Hispanic women.

But a new Gallup-International Labour Organization survey has found that a surprising number of people across the world would still prefer women were not doing paid work at all. Yes, this is 2017. No, we’re not kidding.

The report, which its creators say represents 99 percent of the world’s population (they surveyed 149,000 participants across 142 countries), asked participants for their preference towards women’s working situation. Women were asked, “Would you PREFER to work at a paid job, or stay at home and take care of your family and the housework, or would you prefer to do both?” while men were asked, “Would you PREFER that the women in your family work at paid jobs, or that they stay at home and take care of your family and the housework, or would you prefer that they do both?”

27 percent of women and 29 percent of men preferred that women stay home.

Of course, these are world statistics: you might be assuming this number is being dragged up by less progressive nations. In Northern Africa, 51 percent of men (32 percent of women) preferred their female family members stay at home and take care of the housework, while 45 percent of Arab men (and 36 percent of Arab women) chose that option.

But America is not exempt. The results still showed that 21 percent of men and 23 percent of women in Northern America prefer women to be homemakers only. Let’s get this straight. One-quarter of us ladies would prefer we were still living in the 1950s?? I mean, it almost makes sense. Because until men start sharing the burden of work at home, and until women start receiving equal pay, it makes sense that some women would indicate such a preference: they know they’re going to be underpaid and carrying the brunt of the housework and childcare anyway.

As expected, the number of women not wanting to be in the workforce was skewed with age, marital status, education, and location. Older, less educated, married, and rural-residing women were more likely to indicate a preference not to engage in work outside the home. 

Looking for the good news? (Or not, maybe you’ve given up on things like good news). Fortunately, 99% of women and 98% of men here in North America do believe that women should be allowed to work if they want to, even if they personally prefer they don’t. Which sadly cannot be said for our sisters in North Africa and Arab nations, where only 57% view paid work as acceptable for women in their families.

Top image via Public Domain Pictures

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