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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Expat Women vs. Men: Worlds Apart?

Surprisingly, Oman, the UAE, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the UK rank much higher for women than men. Both men and women agree on Ecuador’s first place, though.

If the survey is examined separately for men and women, this yields some surprising results. At least 31 male or female respondents were needed to be included in the separate country rankings for men and women. Thus, there are 60 countries in the ranking for women and 59 countries for men.

Top Expat Destinations for Men

Top Expat destinations for Men 2015 — infographic
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All Agreed on Ecuador

Ecuador takes first place for both men and women. It comes in first for women in the Finding Friends subcategory. One in five women finds it very easy to make local friends here. For men, Ecuador ranks first for being easy to settle down in. Nine in ten men find it generally easy to settle down here.

Among men, Ecuador holds first place in the Personal Happiness subcategory. Almost six in ten men (58%) couldn’t be happier with their romantic relationship, for example. Ecuador also does well on affordable healthcare, garnering second place for men and third place for women.

Financial Bliss for Men in Mexico

Mexico holds spot two for men in the survey, but only ninth place for women. It ranks first for men in the Personal Finance Index, with 36% completely satisfied with their financial situation. Only 19% of women feel the same.

Moreover, women in Mexico are not nearly as satisfied with socializing and leisure as men (ninth vs. first place). Whereas 90% of men are generally satisfied in that regard, only 77% of women say the same. In terms of settling in, one-third of men (32%) agree completely that it is easy to get used to Mexican culture, compared to 15% of women.

New Zealand: Popular among Men Abroad

New Zealand ranks 3rd for men but only 14th for women. For the general Quality of Life Index, New Zealand ranks 6th for men and 32nd for women, which puts it in the bottom half. As in Mexico, expat men seem to be generally happier than women with the socializing and leisure activities (85% vs. 72%).

Whereas 43% of men in New Zealand are completely happy with the weather, only 24% of women feel the same. The country also ranks higher among men than expat women for quality of environment (fourth vs. seventh place) and overall peacefulness (5th vs. 18th rank).

New Zealand comes first in the Ease of Settling In Index for men and eighth for women. Only two in ten women (21%) agree it’s very easy to get used to the local culture, compared to 36% of men. Men (74%) also generally find it easier to make local friends than women (57%).

No Language Woes in Malta

Malta comes in second place among the women surveyed. One-third of women are completely satisfied with their work-life balance (global average for men and women: 17%). Outside of work, they appreciate Malta for both the quality and affordability of its medical care (fourth and fifth global rank among women).

Women also find it easy to settle in to their life in Malta. Eight in ten generally feel at home in Maltese culture and 27% think it is very easy to make local friends. They also say Malta is the easiest country to live in without speaking the local language, with 77% in complete agreement.

Women in Thailand Love Local Culture

Thailand ranks third for women but rather lower for men (13th place). Women generally find it easier to settle down here: for example, while 18% of men generally disagree that Thailand is easy to settle down in, only 8% of women think so. Three-quarters of women (76%) find it generally easy to get used to Thai culture, next to 68% of men. Only 76% of men think the local residents are usually friendly toward foreigners, but 85% of women share this opinion.

Women also give Thailand higher scores in the Quality of Life Index. Half of them say the quality of medical care is very good, compared to 38% of men. A higher percentage of women are also generally satisfied with the transport infrastructure (77% vs. 67% of men).

Better Work-Life Balance for Women in the UK

Several countries don’t rank in the top three for either gender, but have surprisingly higher results for women. One of these is the UK, ranking 23rd for women, but coming in at 42nd place for men. The Working Abroad Index holds some clues as to why. While 10% of men are completely satisfied with their working hours, 19% of women are. The gap is even more striking with regard to work-life balance, where 19% of women, but only 6% of men, are completely happy. Indeed, men work 42.3 hours on average per week, compared to 37.7 hours for women. Also, only 5% of men work part-time, compared to 19% of women, which could perhaps help explain this disparity.

In the Quality of Life Index, 20% of women are completely satisfied with their socializing and leisure activities, but only 11% of men. Women are also much more content with their relationship: 38% are very happy, compared to 26% of men. As 21% of men in a relationship in the UK don’t live abroad with their partner, as opposed to 13% of expat women, this may help explain the result.

Hong Kong Top for Working Women

Hong Kong is another country that ranks much higher for women than men, coming in at 12th for the former and 39th for the latter. The biggest difference lies in the Working Abroad Index (1st vs. 35th place for the Job and Career subcategory).

While 17% of women are very satisfied with their career prospects, only 6% of men feel the same. A significantly larger percentage of men are in middle management (37% vs. 20% of women) and top management (19% vs. 14%). As women are on average younger than men (38.9 vs. 43.1), this may help explain why women feel better about future prospects for climbing the corporate ladder. Also, 42% of women have post-graduate degrees, which could account for their optimism, too.

Top Expat Destinations for Women

Top Expat Destinations for Women 2015 — infographic
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Women in the UAE Happy with Cost of Living

Surprisingly, the UAE ranks 13th for women but only 28th for men. Twice as many men find the cost of living very bad (10% vs. 5% of women). Four in ten women (41%) think their disposable income is generally more than enough for daily life in the UAE, compared to 35% of men. Nonetheless, more men have improved their finances by moving to the UAE (73% vs. 67% of women).

At work, women are more satisfied with their career prospects: the UAE ranks 9th for women, but 18th among men worldwide. Settling in to life in the UAE also comes easier to women, with 22% saying it’s very easy to get used to the local culture, next to 17% of men. Expat women find it easier to make new friends, too, with 73% (vs. 67% of men) generally pleased in this regard.

Oman: More Financial Satisfaction for Women

Oman is another Arab Gulf state with a huge difference between genders. It makes the top ten for women (rank 7) but is down in the bottom half for men (rank 34).

The biggest difference is in the Personal Finance Index: Oman ranks 8th for women and 38th for men. Whereas 78% of women are generally satisfied with their financial situation, only 66% of men feel this way. The percentage of women who consider their income a lot more than enough is almost twice that of men (15% vs. 8%). Average household incomes back these results: three times as many women have an income of 100,000 USD or more per year (21% vs. 7% of men).

In the Working Abroad Index, 73% of women and 64% of men are generally satisfied with their working hours. The difference in average weekly working hours is drastic: 46.9 hours for men and 39.3 hours for women — despite the fact that only a slightly higher percentage of women work part-time than men (5% vs. 3%). These long working hours may also have an effect on work-life balance, where 69% of women, but only 61% of men, are generally pleased.

Further Reading