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Let’s Talk About Sex—That is, the Sexes’ Different Points of View
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Let’s Talk About Sex—That is, the Sexes’ Different Points of View

While the notion of gender equality—the view that men and women deserve equal treatment—should be a universal human right, the majority of us around the world don’t actually believe that the sexes are treated the same. And when making financial, technological and retail decisions, men and women are thinking differently.

It All Depends on your Point of View

We polled consumers across 60 countries to find out if men and women think they are treated equally across a variety of categories from salary attainment to household chores. The findings show that large numbers of both women and men believe the sexes are treated differently—and in all cases, women’s sentiment was stronger than men’s. But for both, the biggest difference lies in household chores, which aligns with the opinion that, globally, more men (46%) than women (39%) believe the most important role for women is housewife or mother.[1]

Percent who believe Women and Men are Treated Differently
(Global Average)

  Women’s Point of View Men’s Point of View
Household Chores 68% 57%
Salary Attainment 62% 52%
Multi-Tasking Abilities 61% 53%
External Appearance 58% 56%
Business Interactions 58% 50%
Child-Rearing Responsibilities 57% 47%
Financial Responsibilities 55% 50%
Marriage Attainment 46% 37%
Education Attainment 38% 32%
Source: Nielsen Global Survey, Q1 2013


What’s in His or Her Wallet?

When it comes to finances, men and women spend differently. Globally, more men dedicate a greater percentage of their monthly budget to dining out than women do (6.8% vs. 5.9%). They also make more room in their budget for savings (8.6% men, 7.9% women), electronics (5.2% men vs. 3.8% women), vacations (4.1% men, 3.8% women), and entertainment (4.1% men, 3.6% women). Meanwhile, a greater share of women’s monthly budgets go to necessities like rent (16.9% women vs. 14.6% men), groceries (19.1% vs. 17.2%), and clothing costs (8% vs. 7.6%).[2]

Around the world, more men are confident about achieving their financial goals than women: 74 percent men vs. 65 percent women.[3] And women report less tolerance for risk than men when it comes to investing—except in Asia-Pacific. Twenty-seven percent of women in the region say they will tolerate considerable investment volatility, compared to the global average of 24 percent.[4]

The Digital Divide by Gender

Digital is a growing part of life, but men and women are using technology differently around the world. In the U.S., men and women are equally active shoppers on smartphones and tablets.[5] But ownership of these devices can differ. In the mobile world, China and Brazil have the largest gender divides among smartphone owners. Seventy-four percent of Chinese men own a smartphone, compared to 57 percent of Chinese women. And in Brazil, men lead women by 26 percentage points (43% vs. 27%).[6]

Men and Women’s Shopping Styles

The sexes also approach shopping differently, looking for different products. Globally, more men than women buy environmentally-friendly products even when the price is higher (47% men vs. 45% women). Meanwhile, more women (61%) around the world are attracted to products with free gifts than men (56%), but more men are label-conscious and prefer to buy famous brands (51% men vs. 43% women).[7]

There are differences by generation as well. In the U.S., Millennial women are more likely to read women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire or Vogue than their Baby Boomer counterparts.[8]

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The findings are based on respondents with online access across 58+ countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

[1] Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior, Q3 2012
[2] Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Demand, Q4 2013
[3] Nielsen Global Survey of Saving/Investment Strategies, Q3 2013
[4] Nielsen Global Survey of Investment Attitudes, Q1 2012
[5] The U.S. Digital Consumer Report, February 2014
[6] The Mobile Consumer Report, February 2013
[7] Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior, Q3 2012
[8] Millennials: Breaking the Myths, 2014