Survey findings – What do women and men think about gender inequality in the workplace? Does it truly exist?

75% of women surveyed think that gender inequality exists in the workplace. And out of this 75%, 67% of them have personally experienced gender discrimination in their workplace. The remaining 33% may not have personally experienced it but have somehow witnessed it in their workplace. Three of the top issues that were encountered due to gender included:

  • - Less likely to get a specific role
  • - Poor workplace treatment
  • - Lower chances of promotion

On the other hand, although 53% of men surveyed have voiced out that gender inequality exists in the workplace, 39% of this group have personally never experienced or witnessed it before. Another 17% have witnessed it and the remaining 44% have experienced it themselves. Although slightly lower than females, it is still a relatively high percentage of men who are also experiencing gender discrimination. And what was really interesting – the top issues that men encountered due to gender were somehow similar to the issues mentioned above, as faced by women.

Do employees often know about the diversity initiatives that their organisation has in place?

52% across all whom were surveyed mentioned that they are aware of the initiatives in place but a good 48% are completely unaware that such initiatives were in place, if any. This is made up of 63% of women and 47% of men who were aware. As such, most of them who are not aware are also not part of any diversity initiatives internally.

What exactly are some of these initiatives?

  • - Photo competition on diversity and inclusion

  • - Speak up policy to promote female employees

  • - Collaboration of genders by engaging both in terms of team-building activities

  • - Programs that create awareness towards diversifying

  • - Empowering women

Have these initiatives helped to narrow the gender gap?

Only 24% surveyed have felt that diversity initiatives have helped to narrow the gender gap. And all 24% were interestingly men. When asked how they’ve felt that these initiatives have helped and what they were, it was a mix of answers. This includes:

  • - It allowed almost every team to have some sort of representation for males and females which is better than previous teams

  • - It created an understanding of the various backgrounds and their thought process which has helped to understand the importance of gender equality

  • - It created a merit based assessment leading to a balanced workplace

  • - It allowed a different perception to be brought to the table as women often think differently to men

Based on the survey conducted, it has revealed that most (if not all) women have a common sentiment that the initiatives have in fact, zero impact on the gender gap.

Is there gender inequality in the workplace for men too? Are diversity initiatives narrowing the gender gap at all?

Gender diversity is not an unfamiliar topic by now. Singapore in particular, has set a target for itself to achieve an aspirational target of 20% female representation on boards by 2020. But with the city-state currently lagging behind other major capital markets in its female representation on boards, is this target possible? Or what transformation and strategies do we need to achieve this ambitious goal?

Huxley understands the issues behind gender diversity and have formed a Women in Tech group where we would hold dialogues, roundtables, networking sessions and many others to address the issues and challenges. Hopefully, this would also provide a platform of influence that can help address gender diversity and its initiatives.

According to Channels News Asia, much work has to be done for Singapore to achieve its target. Last year, Huxley held two Women in Tech events in Singapore and one in Hong Kong to discuss the challenges in attracting and retaining female talent. We also discussed case-studies of success stories and the value that diversity brings. In our next session in Singapore, we will be discussing some of the survey findings that Huxley conducted as well as the measurable success of diversity initiatives that are currently in place. Ultimately, we want to drive a focus for the value diversity initiatives have, if any at all. And if they have indeed helped to narrow the gender gap - or have they perhaps widened it instead.

Are there other ways in which the gender gap can be narrowed?

According to the survey, most have mentioned that feedback sessions are a positive way of getting to understand the issues, challenges and solutions that can help to narrow this gender gap. Other methods include a quarterly survey and workshops that can help to raise the awareness of gender discrimination – both for males and females.

Different organisations would face different diversity issues and they all need to be addressed accordingly. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diversity. And raising awareness can come in various forms – understanding unconscious bias could be one of them. It is also careful not to end up marginalising men, by only focusing on women.

Gender diversity is an ongoing journey. Huxley will be holding its next roundtable session for Women in Tech on 13 June 2018 to further discuss the above. This session will include a case-study from an American International Bank, covering the success and challenges of their diversity initiatives and how they measure true success of its initiatives. We would also be discussing the possibility of certain initiatives which could widen, rather than narrow the gender gap and how exactly should we be handling it.

If you’re interested in attending the event, please get in touch with Shreeya Bhan at [email protected] or Divya Balan at [email protected]. We will be sharing the insights from the session on our LinkedIn page and website. Do follow us for more updates.

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