Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1539–1555

Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality

Research Paper


Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective well-being than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history. Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States.


Happiness Life satisfaction Women Gender equality World Values Survey 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryRoss University Medical SchoolPortsmouthDominica (Eastern Caribbean)
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ArizonaTucson AZUSA

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