Just 46% Are Wholly Comfortable With Female Political Leaders

Lucy Meakin
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Just 46% Are Wholly Comfortable With Female Political Leaders

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Discomfort with female leadership in politics and business remains widespread, with less than half of people in Group of Seven nations fully at ease with a woman running their government or a major company, a study published Tuesday shows.

On average in the G-7, just 46% of society is “very comfortable” with a woman as head of government and 48% with a female CEO of a major national firm, according to a survey by Kantar and the Women Political Leaders group. That indicates some level of discomfort among the rest of respondents, they said.

The data, based on a survey of 22,000 people across 11 countries, suggest that there’s not necessarily a correlation between public attitudes and women’s ascension to power. Canada, which ranked top, has only had one female head of government. In the U.S., which was third most comfortable with a woman in charge, some polls have indicated that potential Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s gender could be a concern for voters ahead of the 2020 election.

Conversely, with Angela Merkel just days from completing her 14th year as German chancellor, less than one-third of those surveyed in her country said they were fully at ease with a woman in the role.

In the U.K., the proportion who said men and women are equally suited to both business and political leadership dropped in the past year -- a period that saw Prime Minister Theresa May step down. That change was entirely due to a drop in the number of male respondents who agreed with the view.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucy Meakin in London at lmeakin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at pgordon6@bloomberg.net, David Goodman, Zoe Schneeweiss

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