Hundreds came out to listen to President Jacob Zuma deliver his Women's Day Celebrations speech at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Women are slightly more satisfied with their own lives than at the time of the previous general election in 2009.

This is the finding of the Pulse of the People poll conducted by market research company Ipsos during April and May.

According to the survey, women are slightly more positive than men about the direction of the country.

Three in every 10 (30 percent) SA women indicated that satisfaction with their lives had improved compared with 26 percent who were of this opinion in 2009.

In addition, 54 percent of women believe that their children and the children of their family or friends have a bright future ahead of them.

When they comment about their families’ prospects for the future, a third (32 percent) say their families’ lives will be better in a year’s time. In May 2009, this figure was closer to four in 10 (39 percent).

“South Africans – and especially women – view the future with a measure of apprehension and these scores are fairly low. The slow economic growth, lingering unemployment and the uncertainty with regards to the ruling party and the future of the leadership of the ANC, all contribute,” said Mari Harris, public affairs director at Ipsos.

“There is much more room for improvement in terms of satisfaction with their lives and those of their families.”

Less than half of South Africans think that the country is going in the right direction – with 45 percent of SA women and a slightly more positive 47 percent of SA men expressing this opinion.

A third of South Africans are of the opinion that the country is heading in the wrong direction, while the balance of about a fifth are undecided on this measure.

Reviewing the issue of women’s rights, there are still aspects of inequality and 14 percent of women (and 13 percent of men) disagree with the statement: “Over the last 18 years I have seen an improvement in the area of women’s rights.”

About six in every 10 of women (57 percent) and men (58 percent) agree with this statement – however, in May 2009 almost two-thirds (65 percent) of women agreed – thus the experience of equality in society is not as strong as a few years ago. When looking at certain specific aspects of equality or inequality, it becomes clear as to why these opinions pervade.

* Almost a third of men in SA (30 percent) are of the opinion that when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to jobs than women.

“This is a disappointing statistic, considering the rise in single female households and single mother families in South Africa in recent years,” said Harris.

“What is even more surprising is that there is a significant percentage of women (21 percent) who are of the same opinion.”

* Almost a fifth (18 percent) of women believe that a woman’s place is in the house and 62 percent of women disagree with this (considerably lower than the 70 percent who disagreed in 2009). The rest is undecided or do not know. More than a fifth (22 percent) of men agree.

* Less than half (46 percent) of women and an even smaller proportion of men (38 percent) disagree that political leaders are better if they are men rather than women.

* Only two-thirds (65 percent) of women – and 63 percent of men – disagree with the statement that a boy has more right to education than a girl, regardless of the guarantees of equality in our constitution and “These percentages have also decreased over the years,” said Harris.

Only 31 percent of women in SA are employed full-time or part time compared with 46 percent of men. Yet 33 percent of women report that they are looking for jobs, as opposed to only 27 percent of men. - Pretoria News