Canada and France lead the world in attitudes towards equality in leadership

Women Political Leaders (WPL) and Kantar are proud to announce the launch of the second edition of the Reykjavik Index for Leadership.
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Michelle Harrison
Dr Michelle

CEO, Public Division

Women Political Leaders (WPL), the global network of female politicians, and Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, today identified Canada and France as the countries with the most equal attitudes towards women and men in leadership. The findings from the second Reykjavik Index for Leadership also show regression in attitudes in the USA and UK, while Japan, Germany and Italy have seen improvements in how equal they perceive women and men to be leaders. The 2019 index has been extended this year to also measure Brazil, China, India and Russia.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which was named #BestOfDavos in 2019, measures the extent to which society is comfortable with women in leadership positions as compared to men. The Index evaluates perceptions of who is suitable to lead across 22 different industries and public professions, researching the attitudes more than 22,000 working-age people. A score of 100 means that across society, there is complete agreement that men and women are equally suited to leadership in all sectors. Any score below 100 indicates some degree of prejudice.

2019 Reykjavik Index for Leadership


Index Score

Change vs 2018























Research Findings:

  • The UK drops down the index, because of worsening male perceptions as women’s views have remained the same as 2018 – the number of men who say that men and women are equally suitable to lead has fallen by eight points. There is also a widening gap (11 points this year, three points in 2018) between the views of men and women.
  • In the USA, a number of sectors have seen a regression in scores, including: Government and Politics (77, -5 vs 2018), Judiciary (80, -5 vs 2018), Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy (74, -5), Economics and Political Science (81, -5).
  • In every country studied, women are more likely than men to perceive men and women as equally suitable for leadership. This ranges from three percentage points in Russia, to an eleven-point gap in the UK.
  • Improvement in scores for Italy and Germany – Italy has seen its Index score increase by 5 points, and Germany 3. In Italy, much of this is improvements in Defence and Police (+11 points), and Education (+10 points). In Germany, there has been lessening of prejudice against male leadership in fashion and beauty (+10 points) and health and wellbeing (+7 points).
  • Brazil (66) and India (67) show Index scores similar to Germany (69) and Italy (68). India shows relatively high scores in Education (76) and Media/Entertainment (78).
  • Russia and China show high amount of sector variation, indicating where prejudices are most embedded – Banking and Finance show scores of 70 and 67 respectively, whilst Engineering (22 and 23 respectively) and Automotive Manufacturers (25 and 25) show high levels of prejudice against women’s suitability to lead.
  • The Reykjavik Index is a measure of discrimination against men as well as against women. The research reveals that Childcare is a sector where stereotypes are most resistant to change as it is the lowest scoring sector across the G7 nations (54 average) and amongst the lowest scoring sectors for Brazil (43), Russia (30), India (34) and China (19).

Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President and Founder of Women Political Leaders said “The launch of the Index in 2018 enabled conversations not just on the where and how women aren’t viewed equally – but on the why. With the continuation of the evidence provided by theReykjavik Indexand a global community of purpose, both public policy and the private sector can further progress to equality in leadership”.

Evidence is a crucial tool to measure our social norms. Without evidence we cannot hold ourselves, our leaders or our actions to account. The inclusion this year of Brazil, Russia, India and China advances the conversation. This year’s study reveals that in every country studied, there are significant prejudices against women and we have a long way to go until equality is the social norm. The Reykjavik Index for Leadership will measure our progress on the journey ahead of us.

The Index was formally launched, and initial results presented, at the Women Leaders Global Forum being held in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 18 to 20 November 2019.

Full information on the methodology can be found here.

Editor's notes

About Women Political Leaders

Women Political Leaders (WPL) is the global network of female politicians. The mission of WPL is to increase both the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions. WPL members are women in political office – Presidents, Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliaments. Membership is free and members are honoured by their participation. WPL strives in all its activities to demonstrate the impact of more women in political leadership, for the global better.

About the Reykjavík Global Forum - Women Leaders

The Reykjavík Global Forum - Women Leadersis where women leaders discuss and share ideas and solutions on how to further advance society. The inaugural Forum was launched in November 2018, in Reykjavík, Iceland, as the Women Leaders Global Forum. The Forum is annually co-hosted by Women Political Leaders (WPL), and the Government and Parliament of Iceland, under the heading Power, Together. The Forum’s mission is to provide a platform where women leaders discuss and share ideas and solutions on how to further advance society, increase gender equality and promote and positively develop the number of women in leadership positions. The Forum features keynote speakers, all internationally recognised for their contribution to advancing society and gathers more than 450 invitation-only Conversationists from all over the world. For further information, please visit: