Gender Balance in the Workforce and Abortion Attitudes: A Cross-national Time-series Analysis Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2023

start page

  • 915

end page

  • 937


  • 5


  • 74

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0007-1315

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-4446


  • This article explores the relationship between gender balance in the workforce and attitudes towards abortion worldwide. Studies on macro-level conditions related to abortion attitudes overlook the role of gender balance in the workforce—specifically the degree of female representation in a country's workforce. There are strong reasons why this factor could shape abortion attitudes. We argue that such a gender balance creates necessary conditions to break with traditional, anti-abortion ideology and facilitates dissemination and public acceptance of pro-choice views. We test this argument with two different datasets - the Integrated Values Survey and three waves of the International Social Survey Programme—along with two outcomes: general tolerance towards abortion and tolerance towards abortion for pregnant women of low income. Using three-level random intercept models and multiple controls for individual and country-level conditions, the results support our hypothesis: In countries with higher gender balance in the workforce, individuals display higher tolerance towards abortion.


  • abortion; attitudes; cross-national analysis; gender; survey