Young People Less Comfortable With Women Leaders, Poll Shows

Young People Most Likely to Doubt Women’s Leadership Capability

Young people are the least likely age group to believe that women are as capable at leadership as men, according to a survey of 14,000 people that suggests the push for gender equality is struggling.

Some 72% of 18-34 year olds in Group of Seven nations consider both sexes equally suitable in top positions, the online poll by Kantar and the Women Political Leaders group shows. That’s lower than any other age group and compares to 76% of 55-65 year olds. The samples were weighted to each country’s gender, age and education profile, and no margin of error was given.

Young People Less Comfortable With Women Leaders, Poll Shows

The difference between age groups was most pronounced in France, the U.K. and Germany. In what the report’s authors described as a significant shift in attitudes, younger people are less likely to believe in gender equality in those countries than their older counterparts.

The survey, called the Reykjavik Index for Leadership, has been done in each of the past three years. The authors of the report said there was a “striking absence of progress.” They suggest it could be linked to the Covid pandemic, which has seen women spend even more time than previously in unpaid labor at home.

The gap between the views of men and women within the 18-34 age group risks greater tensions and could have lasting implications for workplace participation and the gender pay gap in the future. No group in any country expressed total comfort with a woman as head of government or running a major company.

Young People Less Comfortable With Women Leaders, Poll Shows

“Historically, in times of crisis, stereotypes can be seen to endure, and 2020 is no different,” the report said. “We are not seeing leaps forward in the attitudes of our societies.”

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