We’ve heard about the 77-cent-wage gap ad nauseum. It’s not true by the way. (There is a wage gap but it’s much smaller than 77 cents and it can be attributed to factors aside from gender discrimination, namely how many hours women work and the careers they pursue.) Worldwide, it turns, out women tend to work part-time more than men. It's a work gap and it's global, but the better question is why?

Gallup finds that globally full-time employment has not grown since 2012 across genders but remained stagnant at 34% for men and 18% for women. In every region, men continue to outstrip women when it comes to having full-time work, even in good markets. The full-time deficit remains largest in South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but women in these two regions are also the least likely in the world to be in the workforce.

Workforce rates are highest for men and women in North America, the former Soviet Union, and the European Union. In the U.S. it’s 38 percent for women compared to 50 percent for men. Sweden is the only country in the world to achieve gender parity in full-time employment, largely due to holding one of the highest employment rates for women in the world.

Gallup reports:

In every region of the world, men continue to do better than women when it comes to having full-time work for an employer. In fact, the gender gaps in Gallup's global Payroll to Population (P2P) employment rate remained just as wide in 2013 as they were five years ago.

While the full-time jobs situation has not improved for men or women, the world's women are still half as likely as men to have a "good job." As the global economy continues to recover in 2014 and beyond, these gaps reinforce the need to examine women's contributions more closely, particularly in emerging markets where these gaps are quite wide. When women enter the workforce in large numbers, it is an indicator that a country has crossed an important developmental threshold, and more people participating in the economy fuels growth.

What these numbers don’t tell us though is why women are less likely to work full-time jobs. It may be that economies in the U.S or abroad haven’t recovered to full strength toting full-time employment with them.

It may also be that women are choosing to stay home for at least part of their working lives to raise families or pursue educational opportunities. Those are respectable choices and should be celebrated as much as the decision to pursue work outside of the home.

The response of traditional feminists in the U.S. might be ire that men and women aren’t on the same paths. However, that would be a misreading of the data. The findings don't tell us why more men work full-time or the level of fulfillment women are experiencing. The findings do remind us though that the choices we make in the labor market will affect our earning potential individually and collectively as well as our well-being.