New research to support the launch of King’s College London’s World Questions event series, which begins with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Julia Gillard on 13 November, reveals public perceptions of what helps or hinders women’s equality in Britain and around the world.


Around 20,000 people across 28 countries were surveyed by the Global Institute for Women’s LeadershipPolicy Institute and Ipsos for the study.


Australian findings

  • Twenty-five per cent think intelligence is one of the most important factors helping women get ahead, compared with 15 per cent who say the same for men.
  • More than one in 10 (12 per cent) Australians say a woman’s looks are a key factor in helping them get ahead, while just five per cent say the same for men.
  • Twenty-seven per cent say having connections is important for men to succeed, almost twice as many as the 14 per cent who say the same for women.
  • Employers get most of the blame for preventing equality between women and men. The top three barriers according to the Australian public are:
    1. Employers not doing enough to close the gender pay gap (23 per cent)
    2. Employers not promoting enough women to senior positions (20 per cent)
    3. A lack of employer support for women in balancing work and care responsibilities (19 per cent).
  • A lack of women in positions of political power is mentioned by 16 per cent of Australians – in line with the global average (14 per cent).

·       Issues with male support for gender equality are seen as causes of inequality between men and women. A total of 16 per cent of Australians say that men and boys are not educated about the importance of gender equality and 14 per cent say that men do not want to help women achieve equality.


·       Thirty-one per cent say the most progress has been made with women’s representation in government, politics and in senior positions in business, which were the top areas cited.


Global findings

  • Globally, men (18 per cent) are twice as likely as women (nine per cent) to say that gender equality has already been achieved in their country.

·       Around the world, people are more likely to say intelligence is important for women to get ahead (28 per cent) than for men (20 per cent), and that never giving up is key (25 per cent for women vs. 16 per cent for men).

  • Women (15 per cent) are twice as likely as men (seven per cent ) to have their looks cited as a key factor in their success.
  • By contrast, personal networks are seen as more important for men’s success. Globally, 22 per cent say being connected is key for men, compared with 13 per cent who say the same for women. And 18 per cent say political connections are particularly important for men, versus eight per centfor women.
  • Over a third of people in Russia (35 per cent) say that women’s looks are important in helping them get ahead, the highest in the survey. By contrast, the global average is 15 per cent.
  • People in China are most likely to think that women and men are already equal in their country, with 28 per cent saying this, compared with an average of 13 per cent globally.
  • Countries most likely to blame the government for not doing enough to promote gender equality include Turkey (32 per cent), Brazil (29 per cen) and Hungary, Peru, South Africa and Spain (all on 25 per cen).  
  • Men and boys not being educated about the importance of gender quality is the most cited reason for inequality between women and men in Mexico (38 per cen), Argentina (34 per cen), Chile (34 per cen) and Peru (39 per cen).

Hillary Rodham Clinton in conversation with Julia Gillard on 13 November


Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in conversation with Julia Gillard to discuss women’s leadership and gender equality on Wednesday 13 November for the inaugural event in King’s College London’s new World Questions series.


The event will also help mark the publication of The Book of Gutsy Women, by Secretary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, which tells the stories of inspirational women who have challenged the status quo.