A year-long collaboration between the Hive, theSkimm, and SurveyMonkey focuses on female millennials as they prepare to vote in the 2018 midterms. This round takes a look at gender inequality in the workplace on Equal Pay Day.
By: Maya Kosoff – vanityfair.com – April 9, 2018
It’s a familiar story to almost any woman in the workforce, from minimum-wage earners to striving assistants to C.E.O.s: “Despite being a leader, I am still left off of important e-mails, left out of important decision-making processes, and left in the dark,” one woman wrote in a survey conducted by theSkimm. “When the group is together or a speaker is addressing us, they tend to only look towards the men—even with things as small as eye contact . . . the ‘boys’ club’ mentality is, unfortunately, still alive and thriving.” Other women recalled similar situations: being passed over for promotions, watching their female co-workers struggle to break through, or facing sexual harassment that drove them out of their industries. Their stories are a necessary reminder that despite the advances made by the #MeToo movement, millennial women are still running up against many of the same gender dynamics faced by generations before them—even if they don’t realize it themselves.
Today is Equal Pay Day—a date that marks how far into 2018 women must work to earn as much as men did the previous year. Unfortunately, substantial portions of the population don’t take the problem seriously, according to a new survey conducted by the Hive, theSkimm, and SurveyMonkey as part of Millennial Takeover 2018, our year-long editorial project in advance of the midterm elections. As we found when investigating gender inequality in the workplace, many women don’t feel empowered to elevate themselves or their concerns at work because they recognize the systemic barriers created by sexism. But they persist, in part, because of prevailing partisan divides over the extent of the issue.
These findings are critical for businesses seeking to improve their office culture and bolster their bottom line. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say significant obstacles to gender parity in the workplace still exist, a number that rises to almost 80 percent among millennial women. Most female millennials—65 percent—believe this inequality is due to sexism, and 55 percent believe that having too few women in leadership roles contributes to the problem. Almost half of African-American millennial women cite biased interview processes as a major hurdle. A huge percentage of female millennials—68 percent—believe that women make less money than men for doing similar jobs, and 66 percent believe men have more opportunities to be promoted to top positions.
When that cohort is divided by political affiliation, however, the picture becomes more complex. In theory, equal pay shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but 89 percent of Democratic and Democrat-leaning female millennial respondents say significant obstacles in the workplace exist for women, while only 60 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning millennial women say the same. A vast majority (81 percent) of Democratic and Democrat-leaning millennial women say men earn more for similar work, and the same percentage believe men have more opportunities to be promoted. Meanwhile, just 43 percent of Republican millennial women say men have more opportunities for advancement, while 45 percent say men and women are equally likely to be promoted.
Men are comparatively clueless when it comes to recognizing these disparities, with 46 percent responding that men and women earn about the same. The prevalence of male leaders appears to perpetuate the cycle of gender inequality: while the vast majority of millennial men are comfortable discussing raises, promotions, and salary information with both male and female managers, most millennial women are more comfortable covering the same topics just with female managers. “From my personal experience, men hold all the power at my company,” one woman said in the Skimm survey. “While we may have a significant number of women working on the payroll, it is ultimately up to a man in charge to approve a pay increase.” This creates a cycle where women hold fewer positions of power and female subordinates are less comfortable making requests in their own workplaces.
This ultimately has a major impact on businesses. We already know that diverse teams are more innovative and perform better financially than teams dominated by a single gender.
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