1 in 3 female bosses say sexist behaviour still exists in their organisation

A YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust has revealed that a third (33 per cent) of female HR managers agree that sexist behaviour still exists in their organisation and a quarter (25 per cent) of female HR managers agree it is harder for women to progress in their organisation than men.

The new research shows nearly 1 in 10 (9 per cent) HR managers reporting that they were aware of young women (aged 18 to 30) being patronised or their opinions being overlooked within the last year. 45 per cent reported that their organisation employed more men than women in management or senior roles.

A quarter (25 per cent) of female HR managers disagreed that their organisations take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, compared to 17 per cent of male HR managers. But 56 per cent of all respondents said doing so would help bring about women’s gender equality in the workplace. 1 in 10 (10 per cent) of female respondents were aware of cases of sexual harassment that had not been reported in the past year.

These findings add to earlier research from Young Women’s Trust by Yonder Data solutions in November 2020, which found that in a survey of 2,000 young women in England and Wales aged 18 to 30, 76 per cent of young women said they thought women faced discrimination in the workplace, and 36 per cent of young women said they would be reluctant to report sexual harassment for fear of losing their job (19 per cent of men), an increase from 25 per cent of women last year.

Young Women’s Trust Communications and Campaigns Director Joe Levenson said:

“While working life for many of us has been disrupted this last year due to the pandemic, sexism at work has sadly remained a constant. Within the workplace sexist behaviour and sexual harassment continue to harm women and should not be accepted as inevitable. Employers must do far more to listen to women about their experiences in the workplace, take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment and have a zero tolerance approach to sexism and harassment.  This needs to be backed up by government action, including a renewed focus on gender pay gap reporting and making it easier for employees who have experienced workplace sexism to take action against their employer.”

Natasha, a young woman who experienced sexism in the workplace said:

‘I had a job working in a bar/restaurant and experienced sexism in the form of my male managers continually trying to undermine and patronise me in front of customers, to the point where many of the customers themselves would ask if I was okay afterwards. The final straw was when I witnessed the same manager undermine a young female colleague who was brand new. He was so rude to her, always making sure to do it in front on the customers and after sticking up for her I then decided to walk out. I lost my job from this experience as I felt like if I spoke up too loud about the behaviour of those men that no one would want to hear it or take it seriously.’

 

Note to Editors

  • Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of HR decision-makers. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 862 junior managers and above working within HR/ operations/ management . Fieldwork was undertaken between 11 to 17 February 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size and sector. The findings show that:
    • 33% of female HR managers agree sexist behaviour still exists in their organisation
    • 18% agree it is harder for women to progress in their organisation than men
    • 9%HR managers reporting that they were aware of Young women (aged 18 to 30) being patronized or their opinions being overlooked
    • 45% reporting that their organisation employed more men than women in management or senior roles
    • 25% of female HR managers disagreed that their organisations take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace
    • 17% of male HR managers said that their organisations did not take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace
    • 60% of female HR managers said they thought taking proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace would help bring about women’s gender equality in the workplace.
    • 10% of female HR managers were aware of cases of sexual harassment that had not been reported in the past year.
  • Picking up the pieces: Young women’s experiences of 2020 surveyed 2000 young women and 2000 young men and was published in November 2020