Toronto, ON — Canada ranks among the top countries in the world for perceived equal opportunities between women and men, a new global survey by Ipsos for Global News has found. Two in three Canadians (66%) agree that women have equal opportunities to men in this country, while one in ten (19%) disagree, leaving 15% who aren’t sure. This places Canada six points behind India (72%) and Germany (72%), which hold a joint first place on perceived equality between the sexes. Bottom of the list is Japan, where only one in four adults (25%) agree that women have equal opportunities.
At the same time, Canadian women tend to have a different perspective on the matter than Canadian men. While three in four Canadian men (76%) agree women have equal opportunities here, less than six in ten women (57%) feel the same, a spread of 19 points between the sexes. Only Argentina (spread of 25 points) and South Africa (23 points) have a significantly wider spread between genders, suggesting that men and women in Canada are not on the same page when it comes to equality.
Gen X (70%) and Millennial Canadians (68%) are more likely than Baby Boomers to think women have equal opportunities to men in Canada, as are higher-income Canadians (71%) compared to middle (66%) and lower-income Canadians (61%). At the regional level, those most likely to see equal opportunities for women are in Atlantic Canada (72%), followed by Alberta (71%), the Prairies (69%), Ontario (65%), BC (64%) and Quebec (63%).
Is Government Doing Enough?
Only half (51%) of Canadians agree that the government is doing enough to promote equal opportunities for women, while nearly one in four (23%) disagree and a further one in four (26%) don’t know. This actually places Canada toward the top end of the scale when compared with other countries. Only in India do more people (67%) agree that their government is doing enough. Canada is on par with Germany (51%) and Turkey (51%) on this point, while Japan, once again, lags behind with just 19% agreeing their government is doing sufficient work to promote equal opportunities.
Once again, however, some stark differences of opinion are clearly visible between men and women: men (60%) are significantly more likely than women (42%) to think the Canadian government is doing enough.
This perception is stronger among younger Canadians than older ones: more than half of Millennials (56%) and Gen X Canadians (55%) agree the government is doing enough to promote equal opportunities, compared to four in ten Boomers (44%). Perceptions also vary by income: those with higher incomes (55%) are more likely to agree than those with middle (50%) or lower incomes (47%). Quebec is the least satisfied with government efforts to promote equal opportunities for women: four in ten (46%) feel the government is doing enough, compared to half or more residents of Ontario (50%), the Prairies (52%), the Atlantic provinces (55%), BC (55%), or Alberta (58%).
The survey finds that Canada is among the few countries surveyed where public perceptions line up with reality: while Canadians tend to have stronger perceptions that women’s equality exists here, Canada also has better equality ratings from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Gender Inequality Index than most other countries surveyed. This puts us in a basket with countries like Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, Australia and China, where respondents’ perceptions match up with the current state of opportunities for women.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 23 and October 7, 2016. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.