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More than half of women believe sexism has held them back at work

Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

More than half of women believe sexism has held them back in their careers, research suggests.

A global survey by Roar Training has found 54% of women believe their gender has “negatively impacted” their career progression, with 48% citing specific opportunities such as a raise, promotion or key project that they have missed out on due to being a woman.

And even more – 64% – feel their gender will make it harder for them to advance, the survey found.

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Overall, just 22% of women do not think sexism has negatively impacted them at work, with the remaining quarter (24%) unsure.

Yet the research also found a clear disparity between women and men's perceptions of inequality, with 64% of men believing their female co-workers are offered the same opportunities as them, and 10% even believing women are offered more opportunities than them.

Significantly, over half (51%) of women highlighted a general sense of being disbelieved, or “wanting to be believed” when they discuss or report inequality.

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What’s more, while 31% of men said they have witnessed a female co-worker being mistreated because of her gender, of the women who believe they have been mistreated, just a quarter (27%) said they have been supported by a male co-worker.

The majority – 56% –felt they have not been, while another 7% were unsure.

Although nine in 10 (91%) men said gender equality is important to them, significantly less – 71% – “actively” support gender equality in the workplace. The remaining fifth do not intervene because they do not know what to do, the report suggests.

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When asked how men should help, women said it is important for men to listen more and believe what is being reported.

After this, men should try to be more active in combating sexism head-on, women said.

“Never be quiet about these issues because silence is tacit endorsement of the status quo,” one female respondent said.

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An awareness of inherent bias that may be informing actions and decisions was also cited as important for both men and women to begin working towards true gender parity.

"I think it starts with ‘us men’ being aware that there is an issue and actively looking out for it,” one man said.

Another added: “Education need to come first. I'm not convinced men in the workplace actually understand gender prejudice and its many – often discrete – manifestations."

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Several male and female respondents reported that the "open sharing of salary information" would also help gender parity.