When it comes to explaining why women don’t get more promotions, credit or pay, there are a lot of reasons that factor into why. But a newly released study by the Rockefeller Foundation officially adds a new reason to that list: male attitudes.
Released earlier this week, the Foundation’s second annual “Women in Leadership: Tackling Corporate Culture From the Top” report shows women are not being given the same opportunities. 65% of respondents believe that male attitudes in the workplace are why women don’t receive these opportunities, with 90% of women agreeing with that statement.
Laura Gordon, a managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation, runs an initiative that aims to put more women in leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies. She called the survey results “sad” and told The Huffington Post that it’s time to provide more opportunities for women at work. “[Men] will have to provide the opportunities for women to rise up through the pipeline.”
While American men and women believe that women are just as qualified as men to lead businesses, they also agreed that it’s easier for men to reach top leadership positions. (44% of women strongly agreed with this statement.) The study found that there were several perceived barriers (in addition to male attitudes) as to why, including company culture, views about traditional gender roles and lack of advocates for women in the workplace.
Here are some other important statistics from the “Women in Leadership” 2017 survey:
- 75% of respondents said that the “persistent perception” that women prioritize family over career advancement holds women back from leadership positions. Women in their mid-careers feel this the most.
- More than half of Americans (53%) think men and women are treated differently when it comes to salary. 81% say that pay equity is important believe that pay equity has a major role in increasing the number of women in leadership positions.
- The number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies is at an all-time high of 6%.
- 42% of Americans believe that women lack the confidence to pursue leadership.
- One in four Americans believe it’s more likely for them to see time travel than half of Fortune 500 companies led by women within their lifetime.
Time travel over gender parity? That’s the craziest thing we’ll read all week.
Dr. Kira Banks, associate professor at St. Louis University, says that these statistics can be more than just a disheartening reminder. “You don't have to be a person of color or a woman or a person from another marginalized identity to be a champion for diversity,” Banks said to Fortune. “I think the burden is on the predominantly white men in these positions to be intentional in speaking out about the pipeline and mentoring issues.”
While some companies have already taken steps to sponsor women in the workplace, the Rockefeller Foundation’s survey found that changes to company culture can make a make a big difference when it comes to gender parity:
- Two-thirds of respondents say that an investment in company-wide programs that train and prepare women for leadership positions are crucial to increasing the number of women in leadership.
- Company-sponsored mentorship programs are also a key way to increase the visibility of women in the workplace.
- The majority of respondents believe that company-wide initiatives to promote a healthy work-life balance can have a great deal of impact on increasing the number of women leaders.
Despite women serving as 47% of the workforce in the United States, gender inequality is present in all ranks of the business world. The Rockefeller Foundation’s work has been inspiring so far, but it’s clear that we still have a long way to go.
You can read the full survey results here.