London – As Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to become US vice president, it is found that more than half of the men remain uncomfortable with a woman in leadership roles.
From New Zealander Jacinda Ardern to German Angela Merkel, women leaders have been praised for their handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but more than half of men are still not convinced to put a woman at the helm have not, a study showed Monday.
The survey found that only 52% of people in the G7 group of rich countries – 46% of men and 59% of women – would feel ‘very comfortable’ with a woman as head of their government.
Although it was a six-point increase from 2019, research firm Kantar said the Reykjavik Leadership Index shows no change in attitudes when asked if men and women are equally suited to leadership roles in politics and business.
“I do not want to be doomed … but we can not assume that equality between men and women is going in the right direction,” Michelle Harrison, CEO of Kantar’s public division and co-founder of the index, told Thomson said. Reuters Foundation.
“We have made tremendous progress (since the 1950s), but at present nothing tells us that we are in an era of change. It could be the opposite,” she said, warning that the pandemic is taking women into more traditional roles can move.
The researchers were particularly surprised to find that younger people are more biased than older generations over women in high roles, with the biggest differences being in Britain, Germany and France.
In their study, 23,000 people were surveyed in the G7 – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – as well as India, Kenya and Nigeria, giving each country a ranking of 0 to 100.
Britain and Canada picked up 81, up from 73 and 77 last year, but the overall score for G7 countries remained unchanged at 73, dragged by Italy, Japan and Germany, which dropped three places to 66.
Young men were significantly less progressive than young women in most countries, with the difference being particularly in Italy and Germany.
Respondents were asked separately whether they would be ‘very comfortable’ with a female leader.
Britain, which had two female prime ministers, topped the list with 69% of respondents saying it would be, compared to 38% in Japan.
In the United States, where Kamala Harris will become the country’s first female vice president following the victory of Democrat Joe Biden, 62% of respondents said they would be ‘very comfortable’ with a women’s leader.
The index was launched in 2018 by a group of women politicians to look at attitudes towards women leaders in industry, government and other roles.
It showed that people were positive about having 23 leaders in media and entertainment, science and economics. There was the least support for women taking on the best roles in game, car manufacturing, defense and policing.