NEW YORK • Most women around the world would prefer to be working in paid jobs, and nearly as many men agree with them, even in regions with traditionally fewer women in the workforce, according to research released on Tuesday.
Only a third of people prefer to see women stay at home, said the report by the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United States polling organisation Gallup.
Half of the world's working-age women participate in the labour market, compared with three-quarters of men, the ILO said. Those levels vary by region, with only a quarter or less of women in the workforce in South Asia, North Africa and Arab states.
The research, based on interviews held last year with almost 149,000 adults in 142 countries and territories, was aimed at understanding the factors affecting women's workforce participation.
The report said: "Over the decades, the benefits that women's economic empowerment brings to individuals, families and societies as a whole have become clear, and yet gender equality has not been achieved anywhere."
Worldwide, 70 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men would prefer that women work at paid jobs, it said. Balancing work and family was cited as the biggest challenge in developed and emerging economies, and unfair treatment at work the biggest concern in developing economies.