Women outperforming men in many areas, study showsSaturday, May 26th, 2012
Women in developed countries are doing better than men on a range of measures, challenging claims that women suffer more than men from inequality, a new OECD study shows.
While women on average earn less than men, and are less likely to be found in senior positions, they also work shorter hours than men, are better educated, live longer and suffer less stress than their male colleagues. Conversely, they spend more time than men doing housework.
The report authors note, “Much has been said and written about the need for greater gender equality, but it is a rather complex picture.
“True, men earn more and work more than women, but they are also more likely to be victims of assault or murder, while women live longer and have stronger social networks but are more likely to end their lives in poverty.”
In developed countries, men work longer hours, and accordingly earn higher wages and are more likely to be in senior positions, but have a lower life expectancy, are more stressed and are on average more often exposed to danger.
The pattern emerges from an online index pulling together a range of information about everything from health, crime and income levels to, “work-life balance,” across the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Overall Australia is ranked as the world’s happiest nation according to the OECD’s “Better Life Index.” The study shows that 59 per cent of women had jobs, including part-time work, compared with 72 per cent of men.
Although men do report slightly better health than women overall, they still lag behind women in life expectancy by a full six years across the OECD countries. When it comes to safety and security, men are 15 per cen more likely to have been mugged or assaulted than women.
Meanwhile murder rates for men run at three killings for every 100,000 compared with one per 100,000 among women. Nevertheless women feel less safe than men overall.
But despite this disparity, when official measures of “happiness” are combined women report slightly higher measures of, “life satisfaction,” than men. For the first time the data has been broken down not just along national lines but by age and gender.
It shows that while men overall are still slightly more likely than women to have a secondary education, the pattern is reversed among young women and young men. Overall, Ireland came 15th on the list, out of 36 countries.
Seventy five per cent of women in Ireland have successfully completed second level education compared with 68 per cent of men. On average, Irish girls outperformed boys by 12 points, more than the average OECD gap of 9 points, on reading literacy, maths and sciences scores.
When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Irish people gave it a 6.9 grade, higher than the OECD average of 6.7. On average, people in Ireland spend 8 minutes per day in volunteering activities, one of the highest figures in the OECD where the average is 4 minutes per day. Nearly 59 per cent reported having helped a stranger in the last month, higher than the OECD average of 47 per cent.
In Ireland, 98 per cent of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, one of the highest rates in the OECD where the average is 91 per cent. Nearly three per cent of people in Ireland reported ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ spending time with friends, colleagues or others in social settings; this figure is much lower than the OECD average of seven per cent.
by Tom O'Gorman