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Right in the Middle, not Out on the Sidelines? – Representation and Participation of Women in Europe

Results of a Comparative, Representative Survey in Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Sweden

In our study, we analyzed a representative survey on perceptions of gender justice, role models and stereotypes in five European countries. The study shows the perspective of different national populations on attitudes towards women's representation and participation. The results enable classifications, comparisons and conclusions on strengthening the role of women in politics and society.

The role of women remains a much-discussed sociopolitical topic in Europe in the 21st century, as the road from legal equality to social parity is long. Gender inequalities continue to be found in areas such as work, education, health, power, money or time use. But what are the reasons for these differences? What are people's perceptions around the issue of gender justice in Europe? 

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation addresses these questions in a European comparative perspective. In a representative survey, attitudes towards the perception of gender justice, role models and stereotypes were examined in Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Sweden. On behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, IPSOS interviewed around 2,000 people in each of these five countries by telephone between November 3, 2021 and March 22, 2022. In all five countries, the survey is representative of the population of 18 years and older eligible to vote at the national level.

Some main findings of our study are:

  • In all selected countries, discrimination against women is perceived as a major or very major problem. Women perceive the extent of the problem to be greater than men - except in Germany. This shows above all the high sensitivity of the respondents to this issue.
  • Women, especially young women, perceive disadvantages due to their gender. Male violence against women is still perceived as widespread.
  • Statements skeptical of emancipation only find stronger support in isolated cases, although gender-based prejudices and traditional role models persist in part.
  • Women are considered to hold important social positions just as much as men. Both sexes are similarly success-oriented, young women even more so on average than younger men.
  • Political measures to achieve gender equality are strongly supported, and a majority is convinced that gender equality promotes economic development.

No gender differences are found in political participation. Differences between men and women are evident in their own political confidence to participate in politics and in their political interest.

Read the entire study "Right in the Middle, not Out on the Sidelines? – Representation and Participation of Women in Europe" here as PDF. A summary of the most important results per country can be found right at the beginning of the study. 

Please note, to date the study is only available in German.