Gender Gap: How Wide It Is Depends on Where You Live

FINALLY, an explanation for America's love-hate relationship with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

While most people believe their country would be better governed with more women in office, they overwhelmingly prefer male to female bosses, according to an International Gallup Poll on roles of men and women in society.

The survey, conducted in 22 countries in Asia, Europe, North and Latin America and representative of half the world's population, reveals whether people really think women are from Venus and men are from Mars.

Just under half of those surveyed think it's true - that excluding physical differences, women and men are fundamentally different. Americans, joining with Germans and Estonians, believe in gender differences most strongly. Mexicans, Chinese, and Thais, on the other hand, say men and women are basically alike.

The US also was among only six nations that showed strong support for the ''traditional'' family model of a bread-winning father and a homemaking mother. Forty-seven percent of American men and 49 percent of the women believe this is the ideal family structure, a view shared by the French, Japanese, and Chileans.

Germans, Mexicans, Thais, and Spaniards were among those least likely to say this was the ideal family arrangement, preferring that both parents work.

The poll is not representative of the entire globe, as the survey omitted Africa and the Middle East. But the 22 countries polled have a combined population of 3.05 billion, representing a majority (53.3 percent) of the world's population. The survey covered men's and women's attitudes toward the following:

The workplace. The vote is almost evenly split on whether men and women are on a level playing field. In 12 countries, including Germany, Iceland, Japan, and the US, feelings run strongest that women don't get equal opportunities. The Central American nations of El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico, plus Thailand, have the greatest numbers who believe equal opportunities exist.

Supervisors. Most men and women in most countries would prefer a male boss. In the US, 37 percent of men and 54 percent of women favor a male supervisor. Only 24 percent of American women said it wouldn't matter, as opposed to 44 percent of the men.

Battle of the sexes. In 19 countries, women are significantly more irritated by men - because of something they do or don't do that is ''typically'' male - than men are by women. One-quarter of American women said they were ''often'' resentful of men, while only 18 percent of men felt that way about women.

Intelligence. Iceland, where 81 percent of respondents believe the sexes are of equal intelligence, led the roster of 18 nations where citizens think likewise. In Japan, only 16 percent believe the sexes are of equal intelligence: 42 percent say that honor goes to men, and 41 percent say women have the edge.

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