Attitudes on Gender Equality in the Field of Work in the EVS & WVS over time – Male / Female Comparison

In my first post i stated, that statement 1 –“When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” – should be a predominantly male viewpoint, statement 2 – “Both the husband and wife should contribute to household income” – should be shared by both genders and that statement 3 – “Having a job is the best way for a woman to be an independent person” – should be a predominantly female viewpoint. In this post I want to have a look at how these assertions hold up in the data I used for the analysis.

To achieve this, I calculated the EU and US means per gender and compared them in scatterplots. Please keep in mind, this is still just an explorative first look on the data. While it is possible to get an idea of the connections between gender and the agreement rates, more reliable results could be reached by further and more thorough statistical analysis than presented here.

1. “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women”


As this statement supports the “traditional” role-allocation of men as primary earners, I asserted, that men should agree to this more then women. This holds true for both the EU and the US in every wave. It is interesting, that the general trend of decreasing agreement is followed – or caused – by both genders at more or less the same rate.

Still the difference between the genders persists even in the last waves at about 4-5% in the EU and 2-3% in the US.

2. “Both the husband and wife should contribute to household income”


In regards to statement 2, the picture is less clear. I asserted, that this is a viewpoint, that could be shared by both genders. This is not supported by the data. In the EU the agreement rates of women are about 3-4% higher than the male rates. In the US this relationship is reversed and the gap between the genders even grew from ca. 1% to about 8% in 2004.

Why this is the case, would be an interesting follow-up question, that I can not answer at this point. It may be that the need for dual-earner households is higher in the US than in the EU and because of this, more accepted by men (what makes this somewhat unlikely is the fact, that the overall and male agreement rates in the US are still lower than the EU rates). Another possible explanation could be, that women in the US see spending time with their children and families as more important than earning additional household income, compared to the EU. To test these and other ideas, additional data would be necessary. Also a qualitative analysis (i.e. narrative interviews or group discussions) could be a way to get a deeper understanding of why the differences in agreement come to be.

3. “Having a job is the best way for a woman to be an independent person”


I predicted statement 3 to be a more female viewpoint, as it strengthens female independence and overcomes the “traditional” role-allocation. This holds true for both the EU and the US. In europe the agreement of women on the importance of having a job as a female is about 5-7% higher than male agreement. In the US the gap is even greater, at about 11%. This makes for a more distinct gender difference on statement 3, than on the other two.

Similar to statement 1, both genders follow the general trend of – in this case – rising agreement, at about the same rate. For the US there is no data before 2014, so no statement on the developement over time can be made.


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