Beyond any shadow of a doubt, major societal transformations in the last half century have been marked by unprecedented changes in the relationships between men and women, to the latter’s advantage. Women are exercising greater control over their fertility and, more generally, the right to dispose of their bodies as they wish. They have benefited from the “democratization” of secondary and higher education. They have truly broken away from expectations of their being homemakers and taken their place in the job market. Lastly, their numbers have grown steadily in positions of economic and political responsibility.
And what is the situation today? What is the true status of women in our developed societies? Have major legislative advances translated into facts? Has progress been homogeneous everywhere? Are there areas in which progress has been more rapid than in others? Are some countries at the cutting edge of progress and others lagging behind? These are some of the questions this publication, a result of cooperation between French and Québécois experts, has tried to address. With some 40 statistical tables and as many comments, it provides us with an accurate portrait, backed by figures, of the situation of women in twenty-eight countries in two continents.