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Cross-cultural study finds self-esteem gender gap wider in Western world

The results of a study of the self-esteem gender gap around the world might surprise you.

Assistant Professor Wiebke Bleidorn found that the confidence gap between men and women is smallest in developing nations that rank low in gender equality.

Bleidorn and her colleagues analyzed survey data from over 985,000 men and women ages 16–45 from 48 countries — the first systematic cross-cultural examination of gender and age effects on self-esteem.

In general, the researchers found that self-esteem tended to increase with age, from adolescence to adulthood, and that men at every age tended to have higher levels of self-esteem than women worldwide.

However, when they broke the results down by country, they found the self-esteem gap was more pronounced in developed, egalitarian Western nations. “This is likely the result of specific cultural influences that guide self-esteem development in men and women,” Bleidorn said.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Related articles

“Money Can’t Buy You Self-Esteem (if You’re a Woman),” Time magazine

“Self-Esteem Gender Gap More Pronounced in Western Countries,” by the American Psychological Association