WASHINGTON (AFP) - Seventy-three per cent of Americans expect to see a female president in their lifetime, even as men are expected to maintain their dominant role in business, a survey published Wednesday said.
The Washington-based Pew Research Centre interviewed 1,835 adults online in November to get a sense of how Americans view women and leadership today.
Most respondents felt there was no difference between men and women when it came to leadership qualities like intelligence and capacity for innovation.
But when asked to explain the shortage of female political leaders, 28 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women said women were being held to higher standards than men.
In the business realm, the proportion who said women were judged more harshly than their male counterparts was even higher: a third of men and just over half of women.
That said, nearly three-quarters of those polled said they thought the United States would elect a female president in their lifetime.
Just one in five respondents disagreed.
Women who support the Democratic party were the most enthusiastic about a woman in the White House - amid speculation that Hillary Clinton might run again for president in 2016.
In the business world, however, 52 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women expected men to continue to hold more top business positions in the future, even as more women move into management.
The survey also found that Americans are divided over whether a woman with leadership aspirations is better off having children early on in her career (36 per cent) or waiting until she is well established (40 per cent).
"About one-in-five (22 per cent) say the best option would be to not have children at all," said Pew, which posted the full survey on its www.pewresearch.org website.