Struggle, suffering mark lives of nearly 2 billion women: survey

Wed Mar 4, 2015 9:37am EST
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By Lisa Anderson

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly 2 billion of the world's women are struggling or suffering in their daily lives, while 620 million describe themselves as thriving, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

Based on interviews conducted with women and men in 160 countries in 2013, the survey found that 61 percent of women globally were struggling, 26 percent thriving and 13 percent suffering - numbers that have remained virtually the same since Gallup began doing the Life Evaluation Index in 2006.

"One of the surprising things is how much parity there is between how men and women evaluate their lives," Jon Clifton, managing director of the poll, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

While men and women shared a similar perception of the overall quality of their lives, they diverged when it came to employment and safety.

In a global workforce composed of 50 percent more men than women, men are twice as likely than women to be employed full time, according to the poll.

"That gap is still there and it's as large as it's been for the last five years," said Julie Ray, co-author of the report.

The perception of personal safety also differed between men and women. Asked if they felt safe walking alone at night in the city or area in which they lived, 70 percent of men said they felt safe compared with 59 percent of women, Clifton said.

Countries where women rated their lives the worst in terms of suffering tended to be those experiencing political or economic instability, or conflict.   Continued...

A woman shields her child from the wind while walking on sand dunes in Nouakchott June 22, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney