The Gender Gap at Work


On the one hand, 102 years of women’s suffrage. On the other, 132 years to achieve full gender parity.

The gender gap at work is a fact. Let’s face it.

Unequal pay, sexual harassment, and disparity in promotions are only the most direct examples proving that. In fact, gender inequality in the workplace can also show in more subtle ways. Just think about the higher incidence of burnout in women and fewer opportunities for working mothers. According to McKinsey’s 2021 Women in the Workplace report, the situation looks even worse for LGBTQ+ women, black women, and women with disabilities. They are much more likely than women overall to experience microaggressions as professionals. Worrying.

Mansplaining, glass ceiling, gender double standards. Shouldn’t all these be relics of the past? No doubt about that. But are they indeed? Not necessarily.

Last month, Zety conducted a study on gender gap at work. They surveyed over 1000 employees to investigate such burning issues as workplace sexism, gender-based stereotypes, and more. Let’s have a look at what the study revealed.

Gender In The Workplace

Does gender matter at work? 49% of research participants agreed, while 51% did not. A tough nut to crack. Time to dig deeper.

  • 73% of respondents claimed there was no relationship between gender and workplace skills. At the same time, as many as 71% believed gender stereotypes were still alive at work. What’s noteworthy, such a view was shared by 75% of women and 68% of men.

The survey takers were also asked about job hunting.

  • More than half (54%) claimed gender didn’t matter in finding a job. But 30% of respondents believed job hunting was easier for men and 16% said the same for women.

And, overall, whose work life is easier? The answers were as follows:

  • It is easier to be a female employee than to be a male employee—20%.
  • It is easier to be a male employee than to be a female employee—34%.
  • It’s just as easy to be a female employee as it is to be a male employee and vice versa—46%.

It seems that problems with landing a job are just the tip of the iceberg.

Workplace Sexism In Practice

Let’s focus on research participants’ first-hand experience with workplace sexism. The study findings were the following:

  • 36% of respondents had experienced workplace sexual harassment. Interestingly, the percentage was exactly the same for women and men.
  • Survey takers claimed they hadn’t been hired (46%), promoted (42%), and/or given a pay rise (41%) because of their gender.
  • Additionally, more than half (51%) of participants declared that their competencies had been questioned because of their gender.

In the workplace, you can grow, use your skills, and share your knowledge. But you may also get harassed and discriminated against.

Men And Women In Certain Professions—Who Does It Better?

Let’s move on. Who is considered to perform better in a certain job?

  • In general, for most research participants, gender didn’t matter in how one performed in a given job.
  • But, men were believed to be better lawyers, politicians, police officers, drivers, and computer programmers than women.
  • Conversely, respondents claimed that women performed better than men as teachers, doctors, administrative assistants, accountants, babysitters, and cleaners.

Professionalism has no gender, right? Well, gender stereotypes should be just an echo of the past. But they are not.

A Few Words To Think About Before You Go

Food for thought from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer and activist, whose words from a classic talk started a worldwide conversation about feminism.

“Gender is not an easy conversation to have. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even irritable. Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender, or are quick to dismiss the problems of gender. Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable. […] My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.

Let competencies, skill set, and work habits speak for themselves. In the workplace, gender needs to be just a feature. Nothing more, nothing less.

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