Oxford University Study Finds That Norway is the Most “Egalitarian” Country and Australia is the Least
For what it’s worth, a study by Oxford University economist Dr. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz reports that the most “egalitarian” country of the 12 developed countries in the study were, in order, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, the United States, and Northern Ireland. The least egalitarian was Australia. The study’s findings were based on a survey of 13,500 men and women from each of the 12 countries that asked about their attitudes concerning gender, housework, and childcare responsibilities. Thus, apparently, “egalitarian” is defined by the study as the percentage of work done by male partners for household chores and childcare.
In egalitarian countries you might, in principle, expect to see women preferring to remain single rather than face the prospect of spending more time doing household chores. However, this study shows that in egalitarian countries there is less social stigma attached to men doing what was traditionally women’s work. For instance, if paternity leave is the social norm, more men take it. This leads to men in egalitarian societies taking on more of a domestic role so the likelihood of forming a harmonious household becomes greater, resulting in a higher proportion of couples setting up households in these countries.
The study, which thankfully did not distinguish between marriage and cohabitation, found that women living in less egalitarian countries were 20 to 50 per cent less likely to live with a man compared with women in more egalitarian societies.
A Swedish news source reports that the study reports that about half as many Swedes believe that married people are happier than non-married people when compared with respondents from less egalitarian countries and that Swedes also have much more favorable attitudes toward cohabitation than people from countries with lower rankings in the study’s egalitarian index.