In the wake of the #MeToo movement, gender dynamics — and how they play out in the workplace — have garnered long overdue national attention. Now more than ever, employees and employers are becoming increasingly aware of the overt and subtle forms of discrimination and sexism that permeate their offices, as well as the social constructs that tend to hinder women’s career progress.
While it’s hard to deny that our collective awareness of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work has increased in recent months, a new study reveals that most of us, regardless of gender, don’t believe the #MeToo movement has actually changed anything at work. After surveying 400 men and women to gather their views on their life at home and at work, Fairygodboss — in partnership with The Female Quotient and Progyny — found that 78% of men and 75% of women say the #MeToo movement hasn’t made an impact at their workplace.
“We’re always curious to see if what’s happening in the media actually reflects what everyday men and women are experiencing,” says Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-Founder of Fairygodboss. “While the #MeToo movement has captured national attention, our survey shows that there is a lot more work to do to make a real impact in workplaces across the country.”
Part of that work involves taking a closer look at the way workplaces function to preserve social norms and, in effect, hold women back — and then setting goals and instituting policies to disrupt those toxic patterns. For instance, Fairygodboss, Progyny and The Female Quotient’s survey found that women are more likely to get promoted by women, while men are more likely to get promoted by men. In fact, 52% of men who have been promoted reported that the last person who promoted them was a male supervisor, while just 30% of women said the same. Meanwhile, 37% of women who have been promoted said the last person who promoted them was a female supervisor, compared to 19% of men. Since leadership positions are largely dominated by men — in fact, it can be easier to find a man named John than it can be to find a woman in many of America’s top leadership roles — this promotion pattern does not bode well for women’s advancement at work.
Moreover, women in the Fairygodboss community have reported that they’d be more likely to stay at their jobs if more women were being promoted into leadership positions, and when asked about sources of inequality at work, unequal promotion is the most common response among women.
Of course, challenging traditional gender stereotypes at the office is only part of the solution: the same work needs to be done at home. Of the survey respondents, 40% of women said they spend 8+ hours/week on household tasks like cooking, cleaning, childcare and other domestic duties, compared to 29% of men; meanwhile, 50% of women reported that they feel household management is primarily their responsibility, compared to 33% of men.
As employers are now more carefully scrutinizing gender inequality in the workplace, it’s critical that they consider what kinds of support they need to provide both working women and men to promote a healthier balance both at home and at work for all employees.
“The #MeToo movement has been instrumental in helping us break the silence and create consequences for bad behavior. It’s given us the confidence to speak up and speak out, because we’re all in this together,” says Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient. “Now we need to create solutions for change, and accountability for action. Transformation must include men and women working together.”