SDG Round Table
30 May 2024

Global We the Women survey reveals women’s resolve to champion rights and representation in government

Survey results from 185 countries show 86 percent cite climate change, and more than 50 per cent identify conflict as primary concerns for the next decade. Mental health and family responsibilities seen as barriers to reaching full potential.

NEW YORK, 30 MAY 2024 – A large majority of women polled around the world say they are resolved to contribute to efforts to advance the rights and participation of women in government, according to a new United Nations survey released today.  

The “We the Women” survey reveals that despite facing a global backlash against women’s rights, 85 per cent of more than 25 000 women surveyed across 185 countries express willingness to contribute to advancing their rights.  

Sixty per cent believe that women’s representation in leadership roles in their respective countries will improve over the next decade. Moreover, more than two-thirds of women worldwide assert the necessity of enhanced representation in leadership positions at both national and global levels to influence the future. An overwhelming 85 per cent of women identify themselves as advocates for women’s rights.  

The new survey, conducted by the United Nations Office of Partnerships and the polling company John Zogby Strategies, reveals widespread optimism among women regarding a range of issues, even amidst the world’s concurrent pressing challenges, conflicts, and crises. 

“This survey shows that even in the face of persistent pushback to advancing women’s rights and representation, women everywhere are showing determination and commitment to effect change and to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals,” said United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed. “Women know that it is imperative to have a seat at the table and have decision-making power to get things done.” 

“We started the We the Women Campaign to encourage women and girls worldwide to serve as role models and leaders”, said German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze. “To shine a light on women’s stories and how they broke through glass ceilings. To unlock the potential of every girl to improve her own life and her community. I am deeply impressed by the incredible number of women from all around the globe who have participated in the survey. They show that women around the world are calling for change and are willing to act. This is an inspiring call to action for all of us. I will continue to work hard together with my fellow sisters to answer this call and to improve women’s rights and gender equality.” 

The survey serves as the cornerstone of the We the Women Campaign, launched by Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed and Minister Schulze in September 2023, on the margins of the SDG Summit. It is hoped that the insights obtained from the survey will inform the international community’s efforts to address global issues in the years ahead, including at the Summit of the Future scheduled for September 2024. 

Majority of women see improvements in quality of life  

Most women report experiencing some level of progress in their lives over the past five years and anticipate further improvement in the next five — a solid majority (57 per cent) expect a better quality of life, with only nine per cent expecting it to worsen. Younger women exhibit a 20-points difference compared to older women about their future.  This prevailing optimism pervades every region with the highest levels in Africa (67 to 8 per cent), followed by Latin America (60 to 10 per cent), Western Europe and North America (53 to 12 per cent), and Eastern Europe (46 to 10 per cent).   

Climate and conflict are top concerns  

Despite optimism, significant challenges lie ahead. Roughly half of the women surveyed cite climate change, economic insecurity, and gender inequality as major concerns. 

A striking 86 per cent of women globally anticipate being affected by climate change or foresee its impact on their health due to deteriorating air and water quality and increased occurrences of natural disasters. 

More than half of the women respondents — and 70 per cent of women in Eastern Europe — express concerns about being affected by armed conflict or war in the next decade. 

Women identified several barriers to realizing their potential, with mental health being a primary concern cited by 46 per cent, followed closely by family and childcare responsibilities (42 per cent), gender inequality in household tasks (41 per cent), inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (29 per cent), and domestic violence (27 per cent).  

When it comes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), women prioritized SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-Being as most important to them (40 per cent), followed closely by SDG4 on Quality Education (38 per cent) and SDG 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (38 per cent). 

On the issue of technology and artificial intelligence, about twice as many (45 per cent) view it as an opportunity rather than a threat, but women expect negative effects in certain areas of life. Two-thirds of women think AI is positive for their education, while less than one-third believe it can have a positive effect on their security and civil liberties. 

More international cooperation urgently needed   

The survey reveals a widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of international collaboration in addressing global challenges. Only 19 per cent believe countries are adequately cooperating to resolve conflicts, 21 per cent to tackle economic insecurity, and 30 per cent to address gender inequality — highlighting a perceived lack of effective multilateral action. 

More than two-thirds of the survey’s respondents said women should have more leadership positions in international organizations, national and local governments (69 per cent), and that greater efforts are needed to collect women’s voices and aspirations on a regular basis (48 per cent) and have more consultations with women’s networks on global matters (41 per cent). 

The We the Women Global Survey Report can be found here 

Global Survey methodology 

The polling company, Zogby Strategies, did not employ a method of random probability sampling.  Networks of the United Nations and partners, as well as Online Volunteers, were used to disseminate the survey. The survey was offered in the six official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) plus Portuguese. 

For the full Zogby Strategies report, click here. 

Frequency report, click here 

Crosstabs, click here.  

Master copy of survey, click here 

About We the Women 

We the Women is a campaign of Women Rise for All, an initiative by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General recognizing the transformative leadership of women leaders in keeping the promise of the SDGs. 

The campaign, managed by the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UN Partnerships), aims to engage women around the world in shaping global solutions into the future. 

To learn more about the campaign, click here. 

About UN Office for Partnerships 

UN Partnerships serves as the global gateway through which organizations and individuals from all parts of society, and across the UN System, co-create solutions to deliver the SDGs, bring about transformational change, and build a fairer world for people and the planet, ensuring no one is left behind.  

Through the global survey, which served as the central piece of the We the Women campaign, the Office gathered the voices of women around the world on women’s perspectives about global priorities and how the international community can address them. 

Media Contacts 

UN Office for Partnerships 

For more information, please contact Esra Sergi Bertani at