Poll shows majority of women still face work bias

Most women believe gender discrimination still exists in the workplaceMost women believe gender discrimination still exists in the workplace
Most women believe gender discrimination still exists in the workplace
MOST women believe gender discrimination still exists in the workplace, with half having personal experience of the problem, a new study has revealed.

Almost a third said their career had been affected by discrimination, while one-in-four had considered leaving their job because of it, a survey of 1,000 women for Investors in People (IIP) showed.

One-in-three of those polled admitted they had been put off having a child because they feared it would affect their career. A similar number believed the problem had affected the level of pay they received.

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As IIP calls for greater diversity in the workplace on the eve of International Women’s Day, its poll showed almost nine in ten women (88 per cent) believe gender discrimination is still present in the work place.

The workplace management organisation also said younger women were more likely to feel they had been affected by discrimination at work.

Paul Devoy, head of IIP, said: “The level of perceived gender discrimination our report has uncovered is worryingly high.

“We need to make sure we don’t accept the status quo and 2015 is the year to make it happen. While nearly 90 per cent of women believe discrimination by gender is still prevalent, only 34 per cent said that more needs to be done to remove it.

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“Our work is key in improving diversity in the workplace, something we achieve by encouraging empowerment, diversity and leadership through our updated management standard launching this year.”

Valerie Todd, director of talent at Crossrail and chair of IIP, said: “The fact that so many women believe gender discrimination is still so prevalent in today’s business world is very concerning.

“It is up to leaders to help change both perception and the reality of discrimination. An inclusive culture is fundamental to success for any organisation. For a business to outperform others, it must reflect the community and market it operates in or risk being out of touch.

“The research clearly shows that many businesses have a long way to go in fostering such an environment.”

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However the survey also reveals the majority of workers do believe that the situation is improving, with 68 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men saying gender discrimination is reducing.

The poll reflects the perceptions of employees. According to The Fawcett Society, a leading UK charity that campaigns for women’s rights, the female make up of FTSE boards stands at only 17.3 per cent.

IIP’s poll shows this inequality is more acutely perceived by younger generations, especially the 18-24s. More than half, 54 per cent believe they have been discriminated against while employed because of their gender, compared to the average of 44 per cent; and 27 per cent think gender discrimination has impaired their career, compared to 23 per cent on average.

Meanwhile new research has found that women still face significantly bigger challenges to funding their retirement than men - but the pension gender gap is shrinking, According to an annual state of retirement report from LV=, women who have occupational or private pensions are reaching retirement with pots worth on average £107,000. This is almost half that of men who, on average, retire with a fund worth £201,000.

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