Two in five female bosses say their workplace is “sexist”

Thursday 20 June 2019

YWT logoTwo in five women bosses say there is sexism in their workplace, compared with one in five men, according to new research by the charity Young Women’s Trust.

A YouGov poll for the charity, which supports young women on low or no pay, shows that 37 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men with management responsibility say that sexist behaviour still exists in their organisation – totalling 29 per cent of all employers. One in 10 men (nine per cent) say that men are better suited to management jobs than women (compared to three per cent of women). 

The survey also finds that these sexist attitudes appear to be translating into decisions that hold women back. Two in five employers (18 per cent) say it is “harder for women to progress in my organisation than men”, rising to 27 per cent among women (11 per cent among men). 

The figures show very little change on last year’s results, despite moves to improve women’s equality such as gender pay gap reporting. 

Young Women’s Trust communications and campaigns director Joe Levenson said: 

“Far too many women are still having to battle sexism to progress at work. In some cases, sexist attitudes shut women out of the workplace altogether.

“Many employers say they are aware of this. Yet too few are doing anything to end it. 

“From patronising remarks to sexual harassment and gender discrimination, sexist cultures only serve to hold women back. This perpetuates gender pay gaps and disadvantages employers by limiting their organisations’ talent pools. 

“Unsurprisingly, women managers are more aware of it than men – no doubt because they too experience discrimination. 

“Employers must root out sexism in their organisations and give women an equal chance to succeed. It can be particularly tough in male-dominated workplaces, where employers should help to bring more women in and change the culture through training days, mentoring and even targets.”

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust is a charity that supports and represents women in England and Wales aged 18-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. 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 802 senior HR professionals / people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 23rd February 2019. 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:
    1. 37 per cent of women say “sexist behaviour in my organisation still exists” – or two in five. This compares to 22 per cent of men, or one in five. In total, 29 per cent of employers agreed with the statement.
    2. Public sector employers were most likely to agree that “sexist behaviour in my organisation still exists” at 41 per cent, followed by private sector employers at 26 per cent and third sector employers at 21 per cent. When broken down by sector, public administration was the highest on 46 per cent (sample size: 74). 38 per cent of employers in large organisations (250 employees or more) agreed with the statement, compared to 13 per cent in small organisations.
    3. Six per cent of employers in total said that “men are better suited to management jobs than women” (nine per cent of men and three per cent of women).
    4. 10 per cent of employers said that men have better IT skills than women (14 per cent of men and five per cent of women).
  3. The charity conducted the same survey last year to find similar results. YouGov carried out a poll of those making employment decisions in 2018. The total sample size was 816 senior HR professionals / people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th April - 7th May 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size, sector and region. The survey showed that 32 per cent of employers agreed that “sexist behaviour in my organisation still exists”. This included 37 per cent of women employers and 29 per cent of men.

For more information, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.

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