Annual Survey Shows Low Level of Improvements in Gender Equality

WIN International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, published the Annual WIN World Survey (WWS – 2020) exploring the views and beliefs of 29,252 individuals among citizens from 34 countries across the globe about gender equality, violence, and sexual harassment. BVA Doxa is founding member of WIN and representing Italy.

Many support the idea that domestic violence might have increased precisely due to the safety measures put in place during the pandemic. Others wonder whether the restrictions have had implications on gender equality. The research aims at monitoring the global data on violence and equality, and detecting the changes compared to previous years.

Achievements in Gender Equality

As in previous measurements, gender equality is perceived the most at home, confirming the results of 2019 (from 72% to 71%). On a global level, only two out of ten respondents feel that gender equality at work is achieved, and 6 out of ten if we consider those who believe it is somewhat achieved. In addition, the share of men believing that is higher than women’s (65% vs. 55% respectively).

However, although it increased by 3 points compared to last year (from 48% to 51%), perceived gender equality in politics is still very low (14% completely achieved, 37% somewhat achieved). Perception varies a lot between men and women once again: 56% of men and 47% of women believe gender equality in politics is achieved in their country.

When looking at different age groups, young people are the most optimistic. Citizens 25-34 years old believe gender equality is better achieved than other age groups, especially at home (73%), at work (64%) and in politics (53%), when considering those who believe it is completely and somewhat achieved. The study also reveals that people with higher educational levels tend to share the same opinion.

The index[1] ranks countries from those where gender equality is better achieved to the countries where improvements are still needed. Indexes at work and in politics rise slightly on a global level (from 25 to 26 points, and from 2 to 8 points, respectively), but there are a few important differences compared to 2019. The net index for gender equality in politics increases 5 points within men (from 12 to 17), and 7 points among women (from -7 to 0). Results by countries show that Finland is in the top 5 of the ranking for every category, namely work, politics and home (definitely + to some extent achieved: 80%, 90% and 86% respectively). On the other hand, Japan, like last year, scores negatively in all the evaluated fields.


Compared to previous years, there is little or no improvement in terms of violence suffered by women: results are unfortunately stable (17% in 2020, 16% in 2019 and 2018).

Although both regions show an improvement compared to last year, women in the Americas and women in Africa suffered from violence (physical or psychological) more so than women in other areas (23% and 24% respectively). MENA region falls not far behind from the top two, with 22% of women stating they suffered from violence in the past year. Europe and APAC have lower shares of women who experienced some kind of violence in 2020 (13% and 12% respectively), but the percentage in the APAC region increased by 4 points compared to 2019 (from 8% to 12%).

Consistent with previous results, women between 18 and 24 years old show the highest incidence of physical and psychological violence (24%), just like 2 out of 10 women with completed primary education (21%). The share of women in India who suffered from violence in the past year is higher than in other countries (48%), followed by women in Chile and Argentina (36% each). Lowest percentages are found in Vietnam (1%), China and South Korea (5% each).

Sexual harassment

Despite efforts and campaigns worldwide, results show little improvement: 8% of women suffered sexual harassment in the last year (2020), compared to 9% in 2019 and 10% in 2018. In relation to other regions, women in the Americas report having suffered from sexual harassment to a greater extent, even though it has dropped 4 points from last year (from 20% to 16%).

Young women (between the ages of 18 and 24) still register the highest rate of sexual harassment (18%). Women in India, Mexico, and Brazil have reported the highest percentages of sexual harassment in 2020 (29%, 28%, and 21%, respectively). While Vietnam (1%), Slovenia (1%) and Indonesia (2%) have the lowest figures.

The situation in Italy and Europe

In line with the findings at a global level, even in Italy the place where gender equality is most perceived is the home (74%, 21% of all, 53% enough), a figure which is also in line with the European average ( 71%). However, the percentages of those in Italy who believe that gender equality has been achieved in other areas are far behind: only 41% at work (7% say “completely achieved”), and 42% in politics ( 7% say “completely achieved”) that, again as on a global level, the less equitable environments are reconfirmed.

Unfortunately, even in Italy the percentage of women who say they have suffered physical or psychological violence is at the same level as the global figure (17%), + 4% compared to the European average (13%). As for harassment suffered in the last year, in Italy 5% of women admit having been a victim, a slightly lower figure than the global and European average (8% and 6% respectively).

Vilma Scarpino, President of WIN International Association, said:

Overall, figures do not improve significantly compared to last years. On a bright side, improvements were detected more on a regional level and from a country point of view. This also points to another consideration: data on equality and on violence significantly varies not only when it comes to gender (men and women have different views about it), but also when different countries and cultures, and therefore the different efforts put in place by governments and associations, are taken into account.

Once we are aware about how different results can be achieved when different efforts are put in place, it becomes clear how to understand best practices and adapt them to help improving results and help women worldwide.”

[1] NET INDEX: (Completely + somewhat achieved) – (Not really achieved + Not at all achieved)



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