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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Spanish women are the most flirtatious in the world online, according to a survey by a dating website which said the results belie lingering perceptions of a socially conservative country.
Badoo.com found Spanish women are more likely to initiate Internet dating contact with a man than women from any other country in which the site operates.
Badoo, which boasts 80 million registered users across more than 240 countries said it studied 90 million contacts made over a month.
It showed that the average Spanish woman initiates 1.33 contacts with a man per month -- almost double the figure for women in either Britain (0.78) or France (0.69) and more than double that for women in the United States (0.63).
"First the (soccer) World Cup, now this," Badoo marketing director Lloyd Price said in a statement. "Another global win for Spain."
The league table ranking the 20 top countries on the number of contacts with a man initiated per month by the average woman put Poland second, followed by the Dominican Republic, Italy and Argentina. Latin countries (Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese-speaking) occupied eight of the top 10 places.
Men however were still far more likely to initiate contact in Spain and elsewhere.
British women ranked 14th in the list of Badoo's top 20 countries, while U.S. women ranked second-last, just ahead of Ecuador.
John Hooper, British author of a book on modern-day Spain, said the results of the analysis may surprise those who have an outdated notion of a Spanish society which has changed dramatically since dictator Francisco Franco died 35 years ago.
"Until the mid-1970s, the status of women in Spain was lower than in any other European country, except Turkey. Spanish women couldn't open a bank account without their husband's permission," said Hooper, author of "The New Spaniards."
"Now, you have a country where the proportion of women directors on the boards of big companies is greater than in, for example, a northern European country like Belgium."
Hooper said the "Old Spain" of stooped señoras garbed in black has given way to a "New Spain" of more modern, forthright women, epitomized by the likes of Penelope Cruz, or Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the wife of British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
"When I was writing my book, I interviewed an American sociologist who had been measuring change in different countries by looking at the differences in attitudes between the older and the younger generations," he said.
"Spain showed the largest such difference of any of the 80 countries he surveyed."
The survey's top 10:
3. Dominican Republic
Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison