Just about one in five Canadian women admits to cheating on her partner. Yet almost half say loyalty is the attribute they value most in a spouse or partner.

Those are the findings of a new online survey by Chatelaine magazine. Chatelaine asked members of its online Feedback Panel to answer questions about their beliefs, habits and fears. Around 3,560 readers responded between March 8 to 16, 2007 and the results are published in the October issue in an article entitled "The State of the Canadian Woman."

"This was like having a heart to heart with thousands of Canadian women about the most intimate details of their lives and it was very candid, it was very revealing and surprising," Chatelaine editor Maryam Sanati told CTV's Canada AM.

The survey revealed that women in Quebec are the most likely to have cheated on their spouse or partner -- or at least to admit they have -- 27 per cent have cheated in la belle province, compared to only 14 per cent in Alberta.

"I don't want to speculate, but perhaps it's the European influence, perhaps there's a greater openness to that," Sanati said.

The survey also found that the women believe that the state of the environment is the biggest issue currently facing us; 48 per cent chose it as the most important issue of our time, with global poverty a distant second, at 19 per cent. Gay rights, by contrast, was not chosen by a single respondent.

Canadian women are an adventurous lot, the survey also found. Almost one in 10 respondents said they had used marijuana in the past year and more than 35 per cent have tried it at least once. At the same time, a shocking 44 per cent of respondents admitted they had driven a car while slightly inebriated. However, seven out of 10 said they were too honest to steal office supplies.

The survey also found that 67 per cent of women would not definitively rule out plastic surgery and that three per cent of women said that they had already had some work done.

Sanati said the magazine spoke to one of Toronto's most prominent plastic surgeons who said that many of the women undergoing plastic surgery procedures were women over 35 years old with children.

"Their shop is closed now and they just want to kind of recapture their youth and the physique that they had," Sanati said. "More than that, it's really the boomer market that's driving plastic surgery."

Other findings in the study were that respondents were generally more concerned about earning enough money for their family's future security than being stricken with a serious illness. And more than two-thirds described life as either "Essentially manageable in terms of balance" or "All in all, thoroughly rewarding." Only 14 per cent called it "Such a rat race that it's overwhelming."

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • 73 per cent of women polled describe themselves as believers in God;
  • 80 per cent say they would rather be the CEO of a major company than the next Canadian Idol;
  • 37 per cent say they are carrying no credit card debt, yet 13 per cent are carrying $10,000 or more.