Sexism in UK workplaces is rife, study suggests

Sexism in UK workplaces is rife, study suggests


  • A new study has shown that many young women still face sexism in the work place.
  • Almost half of all female HR directors and business decision makers believe that their workplace is “sexist,” only a quarter of male colleagues hold the same view.
  • A separate TUC study seems to indicate that more than half of women have experienced unwanted behaviour in the work place.

At a Glance:

Two new studies have sought to reveal the continued existence of sexism in the workplace, particularly against young female works. Conducted independently by the TUC and Young Women’s Trust the two studies reveal that a large percentage of women have been affected by sexism or are aware of sexism within the businesses they work in, despite changes to legislation which outlaw such practices.

The Details:

New research from prominent charity the Young Women’s Trust has revealed a gap in male and female perceptions of sexism at work, suggesting that sexism is rife in UK workplaces.

According to the study, almost half of female HR directors and business decision makers believe that their workplace is “sexist,” despite the fact that only a quarter of men holding similar roles agree.

Joe Levenson, Director of Campaigns at the Young Women’s Trust, said that “too many young women” were facing sexism at work – and that the rift between male and female perceptions of sexism in the workplace was “disturbing.”

The survey, which quizzed 800 HR decision makers of both genders, also revealed that around one in 10 were aware that formal complaints of sexual harassment had been made in their workplace.

Perhaps worse, it found that approximately one in eight HR decision makers were aware that sexual harassment had gone unreported within their organisation.

Mr Levenson said that it was “shocking” how many employers were aware of such goings on at their place of work, “yet the problem continues.”

The charity’s research is not the first to suggest that sexual harassment is worryingly commonplace in UK workplaces.

Previously, a separate study carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that more than half (52 per cent) of women had experienced ‘unwanted behaviour’ at work. Such unwanted behaviour included groping, sexual advances and inappropriate jokes.

Mr Levenson has voiced concerns that many young women are living in fear that “they will not be taken seriously or it will be bad for their career,” if they report instances of harassment to their managers.

“While of course there are many excellent male managers, some men may not be aware of the experiences of sexism suffered by women in the workplace – sometimes it may be brushed under the carpet or dismissed as banter,” he said.