08 March 2018
A new poll has found that most young women have had first-hand experience of feeling discriminated against due to their gender at work.
The research, by Investors in People, found that 32% of women believe the issue is inherent across workplaces in the UK.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of workers believe gender discrimination happens at work, rising to 80% among female workers, while 66% of young women said they had experienced it first-hand.
Male workers were almost twice as likely as female workers to say that claims of gender discrimination were exaggerated, despite the fact the poll found evidence that men are the victims of gender discrimination too. As many as 60% of respondents to the survey said they would think it odd if a man took more than two weeks of paternity leave.
Only 51% said their workplace actively encouraged a culture of gender equality.
“The results of Investors in People’s Perceptions of Workplace Gender Discrimination 2018 reveals that an unacceptably high proportion of women feel that gender discrimination exists,” the organisation’s Chair, Valerie Todd.
“The fact that nearly half of female workers have experienced this sort of discrimination shows that there is still more to be done in ensuring that workplaces across the country are providing fair and inclusive environments for all workers, regardless of gender,” she added.
In our Manifesto for Labour Law – 25 recommendations for reform that have been adopted as the blueprint for Labour Party labour law policy – we put forth several proposals for the improvement of equality at work.
These include providing truly flexible work, and shareable parental leave, including six months of maternity leave on full pay; one month of paternity leave on full pay; and an entitlement for parents to share leave by reducing their working hours.
In order to better enforce the law, we propose that all employers should be required to monitor the composition of their workforce in terms of disability, race and gender; and to carry out regular pay audits in co-operation with workplace equality officers from recognised or representative trade unions. These equality officers would sit on an equal opportunities forum (which employers would have a statutory duty to create) with the role to consider and work to ameliorate issues affecting equality in the workplace.
In addition, we recommend that employers’ liability for third-party harassment is restored and that employers should be required as a matter of law to provide a workplace free of abuse.