My first post in this blog tackled attitudes and beliefs of EU-citizens on the topic of gender equity. It was based on the results of a Special Eurobarometer from early this year. Here it became clear, that the Europeans see Gender Equity as a fundamental right while at the same time still perceiving inequalities in social reality. Out of the different areas of everyday-life, the workplace is the field where gender stereotypes are still seen as the most widespread.
The results left me with several questions. Two of them were, (1) do the European values differ from the US American beliefs and (2) how united are the EU-countries in their views on equality? I also asked myself, did these beliefs change in the last decades, and if yes, to what degree? I personally want to believe, that we are steadily moving towards a more equal and just society. If this is the case, this change of beliefs – and its magnitude – should be visible in the data over time.
In another university course, I came across methods of quantitative comparisons in international studies and learned about the freely accessible datasets “European Values Study” (EVS) and “World Values Survey” (WVS). These are two international surveys that measure the values and beliefs of people in 47 European countries (EVS Wave 4) and 60 worldwide (WVS Wave 6), spanning the time from 1981 to 2014 (the last EVS concluded 2010). Both datasets share a common questionnaire and can be combined in the analysis. The data also includes some questions related to gender equity in the work place. The questions are formulated as statements, that the respondents could agree or not agree to on a scale. From this catalogue I picked three statements, which in my opinion describe the issue from three separate viewpoints. These are:
- “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” – this represents the traditional view of men as the primary source of income; a supposedly predominantly male viewpoint –
- “Both the husband and wife should contribute to household income” – this represents the will and/or necessity to maximize the household income with contributions from both genders; a viewpoint women and men could share –
- “Having a job is the best way for a woman to be an independent person” – this represents the role of work in female empowerment; a supposedly predominantly female viewpoint –
Based on this selection, I did a descriptive analysis to get a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the U.S. and the EU as well as between European countries over time. I want to share these results in a small series of blog posts over the next days.