Gender Equality in the workplace benefits everybody, and men can help us achieve it.
Progress has been made towards the goal of gender equality in the workplace. However, this progress is patchy and significant barriers continue to negatively affect women’s access to and employment conditions within the labour market.
To effectively tackle inequality in the workplace we need to change the gendered nature of workplace cultures. To do so, men have an important role to play, particularly in sectors where they make up the majority of the workforce.
Research into men’s perception of gender equality is limited. Our report seeks to address this gap by looking for the first time at how men working in four key sectors of the Welsh economy – ICT, construction, energy and environment and advanced materials and manufacturing – perceive gender equality and experience working with women.
This report marks the start of an important conversation and considers three key themes:
1. Attitudes and opinions regarding gender equality in the workplace
2. Experience of gender and gender equality in the workplace
3. Overcoming gender inequality in the workplace
It’s clear from those we spoke to that men’s attitudes towards and opinions on gender equality are complex and it was only through more detailed conversations in our focus groups that we were really able to unpick some of the more nuanced views.
Stereotypical ideas clearly persist and shape men’s perceptions of women in the workplace, most notably, the common view of motherhood as being a major factor in shaping women’s careers.
Men also appear less aware of the extent to which gender continues to shape women’s careers, and attribute the gender imbalance in their sector or in senior positions to women’s choices rather than structural issues or discrimination.
And perhaps worryingly, there seems to be much work to do to convey the wider benefits of gender equality – to businesses and the wide economy – to both men and women.
Our report makes a number of recommendations to overcome these challenges. But it is clear to see that in order to make the case to employers about the need for gender equality, we need men on side too.