Gender discrimination in the workplace comes in many forms, but it generally means that an employee or candidate is treated differently because of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Employees sometimes experience gender discrimination by being sexually harassed, paid less, or demoted. Therefore, it’s important to be educated about the obvious and less obvious types of sexism in the workplace so that you can be a part of the change.
Read on to find some examples of sexism in the workplace.
Top Sexism in the Workplace Statistics: Editor’s Choice
- Women are twice as likely as men to experience discrimination at work.
- Women are three times more prone to be sexually harassed at work.
- 8.2 million UK adults have experienced gender discrimination at work.
- Mothers are penalized with a 7% wage reduction per child.
- Nearly 28% of women work more compared to men.
- Only 16% of women are board members in the top 500 MNEs.
- Women account for 6% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies.
Gender Inequality in the Workplace Statistics
Gender inequality in the workplace is a complex phenomenon seen in many areas, from organizational structures to processes and practices. It is still an issue for employees across many countries and businesses, as evidenced by the most recent statistics below.
1. About 4 in 10 women in the US have experienced sex discrimination in the workplace.
The most recent data shows that gender discrimination at work is still present, with nearly half of employed US women (42%) experiencing some form of gender discrimination, apart from sexual harassment.
Additionally, women reported many personal experiences, such as earning less than men for the same job and being avoided for important assignments or leadership positions.
2. Women are about twice as likely as men to experience gender discrimination at work.
The discrimination against women in the workplace survey conducted before the recent wave of sexual allegations against famous men in the media, politics, and other industries found that 42% of women experienced discrimination, as opposed to 22% of men.
In addition, women face more gender disparities at work, especially in majority-male workplaces such as STEM. In fact, they consider discrimination the major reason behind the lack of women in those industries.
3. Around 25% of women claim they earn less than men for doing the same job.
Women’s inequality in the workplace can be noticed in the gender pay gap. However, this is not the case with men since only 5% of employed men report earning less than their female counterparts. This is one of the most common forms of gender discrimination in STEM jobs, where 29% of women report having lower salaries due to their gender.
4. About 15% of working women have less support from seniors than men for doing the same job.
Moreover, articles on gender discrimination reveal that only 7% of working men have had a similar experience. In fact, 1 in 10 working women claim they haven’t got the most important assignments due to their gender, while only 5% of men claim the same.
5. Women are about three times as likely as men to experience sexual harassment in their workplace.
When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, employees think this is more of an industry than a workplace problem. In addition, sexism statistics reveal that around 53% of workers with STEM jobs consider sexual harassment a small problem in their sector, compared to 46% of non-STEM workers.
Gender Discrimination in the UK
6. Over 8.2 million employees in the UK say they’ve been discriminated against because of their gender.
Nobody should be discriminated against at work because of their gender. However, sexism in the workplace statistics show that some companies are still conservative about jobs for women and men. Moreover, some of them disregard sexual harassment in the workplace or have policies that put one of the genders at a disadvantage.
7. About 28.7% of UK people who experience gender discrimination are overlooked for a promotion.
This is one of the most common issues women face in the workplace. Companies holding sponsorship programs need to work hard to raise the profile of women and make them better decision-makers.
Sexism in the workplace statistics in a Harvard Business Review suggest that failure to get a promotion is often a sponsor’s fault, not the candidate’s. Although these programs can be quite effective in elevating women, the potential pitfall is that sponsors move on after their candidates advance—right when they need to help them take charge in their new roles.
8. Around 24% of UK respondents believe they haven’t got a job because of their gender.
Employers shouldn’t discriminate based on gender. However, sexism in the workplace statistics for the UK suggest otherwise.
Most countries have legislation against many forms of gender discrimination in the workplace. Under the legislation, employees should be treated equally in all aspects of their work—job application, part-time and flexible work arrangements, salary and benefits, development and promotion, dismissal, and retirement.
9. A huge portion of UK adults (38.4%) aged 25–34 has experienced gender discrimination at work.
Over a third of UK adults have experienced workplace discrimination or discrimination when searching for a job. In fact, CIPHR research reveals how present employment bias in the UK is. For example, gender bias in hiring statistics suggest that around 32% of people have been discriminated against in their workplace, while 34% reported they didn’t get a job they were qualified for because of their gender.
In fact, most employers would agree that there’s still much work to be done to eliminate sexism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.
Women Inequality in the Workplace Statistics
Women account for more than 50% of the total US population, but they still continue to be underrepresented, underpaid, and discriminated against. The inequalities women in the workplace experience are evident, as can be seen in the following statistics.
10. Women in Germany earned 20% less than men in 2019.
Gender discrimination in the workplace regarding wages is somehow declining in developing countries, yet very slowly. In some countries, there has not been any improvement at all. Looking back in 1984, female workers received only 72% of what their male peers earned. However, as we can see, the gender gap has narrowed in recent years.
In previous years, the gender gap between Eastern and Western Germany was approximately three times lower. This difference indicates that eastern states pay lower wages in general.
11. In the US, women make 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Women are primarily employed in a few sectors where jobs are easily accessible, but salaries and job security are lower. In addition, sexism in the workplace facts reveal that many women work in the informal sector where jobs don’t provide the benefits of full-time work such as steady wages, proper occupational health and safety conditions, job security, and social protection.
The history of gender discrimination in the workplace is marked by the wage gap. In 1960, for every dollar that men made, women made only 61 cents.
12. There is a motherhood penalty of a 7% wage reduction per child.
Even though men and women should have the same economic opportunities in life, gender inequality in the workplace statistics for the US prove that there is still a persistent gap between their salaries. What’s more, a woman’s wage is impacted by the number of children she has.
After children are born, the gender gap is even bigger, mostly because women choose to work part-time to have more time for childcare.
When switching to full-time work, they’re often forced to accept lower wages compared to what they would have earned in their original job.
13. Around 76% of organizations that appreciate gender diversity aren’t satisfied with their ability to elevate women in leadership.
If we dive deeper into facts about gender bias in the workplace, statistics reveal that a shocking 90% of senior leaders are men. Additionally, most managers are twice more likely to hire or promote a man than a woman.
Many leading edge companies are provoked by the speed at which women reach top levels. Therefore, they work towards implementing a new set of strategies that push high-potential women toward the most senior positions.
14. 28% of female workers say they work hard to impress.
In almost every country globally, women work hard, but they’re paid less than men. Articles on discrimination in the workplace show that the ever-increasing number of women entering the workforce still hasn’t improved their living or working conditions.
In the last 10 years, women’s progress hasn’t brought much access to quality jobs or ended gender discrimination in the workplace. Inequality is still present in every aspect of women’s lives, from wages to employment opportunities, extending to managerial positions and decision-making.
15. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 72% of women don’t report sexual harassment at work.
Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the workplace. Around 35% of female US workers experience it at some point in their careers, from sexist jokes to being touched inappropriately.
Most women don’t report sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs or being labeled a troublemaker.
16. In 2020, women held 38% of managerial positions, as opposed to 62% of men.
Sexism in the workplace statistics indicate that men still get promoted more often than women. When women shoot for the highest-level jobs, they’re considered risky for roles that are often male-dominated. This indicates that women are less likely to get the job they deserve.
17. Women account for only 16% of board members in the top 500 MNEs.
Additionally, articles on discrimination in the workplace reveal that women have only 12% of shares in the technology sector. Furthermore, they account for less than a fifth of the boardroom even in the most profitable sectors, such as consumer non-cyclicals or companies making household staples.
Regarding multinationals, the percentage of females in the workforce indicates that only 1 in 20 of the top 500 companies have female representation over 30%.
18. 40 world economies have made legal reforms to improve economic participation for women.
The World Bank’s study suggests that even though many economies enact reforms to help women realize their potential and contribute to economic growth, the outcome is still rough. In many countries, they have fewer legal rights than men, which hinders their economic development.
Regarding gender roles in the workplace, articles reveal that since female managers support employee well-being, companies need to see the value of their contributions. Almost 70% of companies say that promoting diversity and inclusion is critical, yet only a quarter of them recognize it.
19. India has the third-lowest global representation of female managers.
Gender discrimination at the workplace in India is quite evident—the country ranks among the lowest regarding female representation at management levels (10%). India is only ahead of South Korea (8%) and Japan (7%). In 2019, only 8% of women had a management role, 9% of business management roles, and 2% of CEO positions.
Even though women’s representation has increased by 5.9% in the last six years, the number is still significantly below the global average of 24%.
Sexism in the Workplace in 2021 Statistics
20. Nearly 50% of women say that a company’s stance on gender equality impacts their job search.
Gender inequality in the workplace statistics for 2021 suggest that women are more burned out now than ever before, as stress and exhaustion continue to be a part of their lives. Yet, their work is still unrecognized, even though they appear to be stronger leaders and do more than men to support their teams.
According to McKinsey, women are more helpful toward their team members, ensuring they successfully manage their workload and checking on their overall well-being. They also spend more time recruiting workers from underrepresented groups.
21. Women currently account for only 6% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies.
Gender inequality in the workplace statistics suggest that 6% translates to 30 CEO positions at those companies. The Woman CEOs in America report further indicates that female CEOs are expected to constitute 15% of Fortune 500 and S&P roles by 2025.
Sexism in the Workplace Statistics: The Takeaway
Based on the statistics we discussed above, sexism and gender segregation in the workplace are still present nowadays and are partly responsible for the gender pay gap.
Moreover, the belief that men and women have different skills is one of the reasons they work in different occupational fields. Men earn higher salaries than women, have more opportunities for promotion, and take more senior posts.
Additionally, once women become mothers, they’re perceived as less competent compared to women without children. Sadly, if they decide to have a family or get married, they’re more likely to receive a financial penalty while men get promoted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does gender inequality still exist in the workplace?
Despite years of effort to eliminate gender discrimination, there’s still a great deal of inequality in workplaces worldwide. Unfortunately, this social problem is even growing in some places.
The government and many companies and employees work towards closing the wage gap and providing equal treatment for both genders. However, gender inequality is seen in many areas. For example, women worry about the unfair treatment during pregnancy or motherhood and are most often sexually harassed.
The fight for an equal wage is one of the most prominent gender equality issues. Unfortunately, most male workers receive higher wages than female workers for the same job.
How many adults in the UK agree that sexism is an issue in the workplace?
Most women agree that sexism still exists in the workplace. According to a PewResearch study, women still face obstacles to get ahead in their careers (63%). Additionally, a study from the TUC shows that nearly 32% of women have experienced inappropriate, sexist jokes while at work, whereas 28% of women have heard jokes about their body or clothes at work.
Nearly a quarter of female employees have experienced unwanted touching at work, while 12% have faced attempts to be kissed at work. Sexism at work can take many forms, from unwelcome jokes, suggestive remarks, comments about someone’s sexual life, inappropriate touching or kissing, and asking for sexual favors.
How does gender affect the workplace?
Male and female jobs differ greatly across sectors, industries, and companies. However, employment segregation by gender is still present, and the types of gender inequality can vary. Some examples include unequal salaries, different opportunities, firing a female employee for making a claim, showing preferential treatment towards male workers, sexual harassment, or promoting sexist views.
Women often have low-paying jobs and are overrepresented among unpaid workers and in the informal sector. Moreover, they’re rarely promoted to leadership positions.
What is the UK gender pay gap?
The Equal Pay Act was passed in the UK 50 years ago. Under this act, employers are prohibited from paying female employees less than male ones for doing the same job. However, the gender pay gap persists.
As of April 2020, the gender pay gap between full-time employees was 7.4% lower than in the previous year (9%). Among all employees, the gap was 15.5% in 2020, down from 17.4% in 2019.
As we can see, the gender pay gap in the UK has been slowly decreasing. Over the last 10 years, it has declined by almost a quarter among full-time employees and over a fifth among all employees.
What percentage of managers are female?
In 2019, the percentage of women in senior management increased to 29%, which is the highest percentage ever recorded. However, the number remained the same the following year.
Although women account for almost 52% of all management and professional jobs in the US, they are still overlooked for leadership positions. For example, women represent only 19% of equity partners, while only 16% are permanent medical school deans.
How long has gender inequality been around?
Believe it or not, gender inequality possibly arose 8,000 years ago. In many societies, women have been treated as lesser human beings. As a result, they have experienced many forms of discrimination throughout history, from a lack of legal rights to very little independence.
Gender inequality varies, but it exists in all countries in the world. Moreover, gender discrimination is also present in the process of hiring and the workplace. Fortunately, gender inequality has reduced over the years as significant efforts have been made towards equality. However, despite the progress, sexism in the workplace statistics don’t look too promising for women.