Building on the massive success of last year’s campaign, 2018’s campaign is being driven by the rallying call to #PressForProgress in the arena of gender equality, this is an especially important principle, given that the World Economic Forum estimates that gender parity is still 200 years away. Moreover, the fact that the WEF estimates the despite such a powerful awareness campaign last year, the gender gap actually widened in 2017, to 32%. This is the first time that the gap has moved in this direction since the WEF started reporting in 2006, therefore the significance must not be overlooked.
Back in 2016, Investors in People carried out research into gender inequality in the workplace, revealing that 83% of women felt that gender discrimination in the workplace existed. This was a significant figure, and this year we set out to build on our research in this area, launching our first ‘Perceptions of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace’ poll, designed with the intention of setting out employee perceptions of gender inequality in the workplace and matching these against fact.
Beyond our headline statistic that in 2018, eight in ten women believe that gender discrimination in the workplace exists, we also found that in many cases, the perception of inequality held by workers is actually greater than the reality. This proves that having equality in workplace practices is all well and good, but our statistics prove a tangible disparity between policy and implementation which manifests in perceptions of a greater inequality.
Indeed, our results showed that respondents were most likely to believe that the gender pay gap between men and women was 19%. In reality, the Office for National Statistics puts the gender pay gap for full time workers at 9%. This means that employees feel that pay discrepancy based on gender is more than twice as pronounced as it is in reality. Communication is the only way to overcome this disparity between fact and feeling.
Our CEO Paul Devoy has a longstanding commitment to IWD and indeed to workplace gender equality. Of this year’s findings, Paul said “It is disappointing to see that gender discrimination in the workplace still remains a prolific presence for 80% of women workers in the UK. Indeed, the findings of our poll suggest that attitudes in some areas are stagnant or indeed regressive. For example, the proportion of workers who would find it unusual for a man to take more than two weeks paternity leave has increased since 2016, from 57% to 60%. For workplaces to truly prosper, organisations must invest in unlocking the potential of their people, regardless of gender”.
We at Investors in People pledge to be champions of gender parity within our organisation, across our Community and throughout the wider world.