Workplace Sexism Is Still Very Much a Thing, Says Depressing New Survey
Let's not fool ourselves: we haven't achieved gender equality yet. Society has made great strides when it comes to embracing feminism and demanding better treatment for, well, everyone, but women and men still don't always receive equal treatment, whether at home or at work.
In a recent poll of 1,000 American adult men and women about workplace sexism, the Huffington Post found that an estimated 54% of male and female respondents do not believe that most men consider women their equals in the workplace. While there was a notable gap between women's and men's responses — 65% of women said they don't think men consider them equals at the office, while just 42% of men agreed.
The disparity held when it came to wages, too: Nearly three-quarters of women believed men typically earned more for doing the same job, compared to 56% of men.
The nationally representative survey also looked at people's beliefs about women's representation in politics. For both the workplace and the government, results of each poll were similar: Overall, more women tended to see differences in the level of respect female employees and politicians receive. Men weren't so sure.
Tell us something we don't know: The various forms of gender inequality in the workplace have been well-documented. In addition to getting paid less on average than their male counterparts, female employees are also more likely to experience sexual harassment and encounter obstacles to promotion, not to mention negative effects on their health.
One recent study found that women who are "tokens" in male-dominated fields exhibited comparatively high stress levels, while other research showed that women without much authority at their jobs might be at greater risk of experiencing depression.
But workplace inequality affects more than just individual employees' success — it affects success at a company level, too. Research has shown that more unequal work environments can lead workers to be less productive, while more equitable workplaces tend to have higher profits and better morale.
Despite proof that creating more egalitarian organizations benefits both employees and their employers, however, the recent survey findings clearly shows there's one major issue: Not everyone agrees that workplace sexism is actually a problem.
So what's getting in the way? Well, for starters, there's a disparity between who recognizes institutional inequality and who doesn't. According to the Huffington Post poll, nearly a third of men said that men and women tend to be paid equally, while only 15% of women said they are.
But there shouldn't be such confusion: According to White House data, women still make 77% of what their male colleagues earn in the workplace.
It's perhaps unsurprising that female respondents seemed to be more attuned to workplace double standards. But while men seem to be less aware of workplace sexism than their female counterparts on a macro level, a surprising number of them seemed to be aware of gendered discrepancies when it came to a few specific measures of success. For instance, a sizable percentage of both men and women (42% and 51%, respectively) agreed that men are more successful at negotiating wages and benefits than their female counterparts, confirming previous data that women are far less likely to negotiate for higher salaries than men.
It's heartening that a sizable number of men acknowledge that workplace sexism is still an issue, but it's a small part of the solution to achieving workplace equality, once and for all. When it comes down to it, the onus isn't just on women to better working conditions; in order to achieve greater respect for women in the workplace, men also need to be more vocal about demanding it.
H/T Huffington Post