Work-life balance is the top workplace concern for women in G20 countries, according to a poll of more than 9,500 women by the Thomson Reuters and Rockefeller foundations.

Juggling commitments at work and home was flagged up by 44% of respondents as the toughest challenge they face, particularly in Russia and four of the five Asian G20 countries – South Korea, India, China and Japan.

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This was followed by the gender pay gap, which was cited as the  biggest concern in the US, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found harassment in the workplace was the third most important issue. Nearly a third of G20 women said they have faced physical or online harassment at work, but 61% said they never or rarely reported it.

Women in Turkey, Mexico and Argentina were most concerned about harassment, those in South Korea, Russia, Germany and Britain the least. Women in India were most likely to speak out.

Nearly half of women believe they don’t have the same access to jobs or career advancement as men. However, in a surprise finding, only 1 in 5 Turkish women, and 1 in 4 Indian women believed this to be a major issue.

Among more positive trends, women in emerging countries and younger women believe that they can have children without damaging their careers. They are also confident they will have the same chance of success as men in starting their own businesses.

In Brazil, 74% of women say they think having children will not hurt their careers, followed by South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia and India, where about 3 in 5 women are optimistic about it.

Meanwhile, women in some of the richest G20 countries – Germany, Britain, France and Japan – are most likely to believe that having children will affect their careers.

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Author: Rosamond Hutt is a Senior Producer at Formative Content. 

Image: A Japanese businesswoman (C) commutes to work in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district September 20, 2006. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota