Despite #MeToo, New Study Shows Men & Women Still Have Different Work/Home Priorities

Ever since the re-emergence of the #metoo movement in 2017 (originally started by activist Tarana Burke over a decade ago to give voice to victims of sexual assault), we have seen a cultural shift in the way discussions about gender equality, discrimination and existing power structures have played a role in perpetuating certain problems. There has been a specific focus on the pervasive sexual harassment and abuse happening in workplaces in particular, in the wake of the numerous high-profile Hollywood stories (most notably the Harvey Weinstein allegations as well as the Bill Cosby trial), the focus on gender equality in the workplace has been kicked into high gear.

However, the discussions about viable solutions must look at the type of environment created for men and women in the workplace. It is extremely important for companies to deal with any harassment or abuse, but they must equally make sure employees feel like going into the office is going to enhance their life, not become a burden. For the #MeToo movement to be effective beyond its initial attention, we want to see it translate into action affecting all aspects of careers, especially for women, as society is starting to wake up to the widespread effect of the major underlying problem – gender inequality both at home and in the workplace.

To show why this is important (and not just our opinion!), a new study has shown that while a majority of men and women have similar views on how the #MeToo movement affects the workplace, when it comes to other areas of work-life balance, views start to differ, underscoring the gender bias and expectations that still exist. Fairygodboss, one of our content partners and an online community dedicated to women’s workplace experiences, together in collaboration with The Female Quotient and Progyny, have released the results of research outlining where men and women do differ.

“We’re always curious to see if what’s happening in the media actually reflects what everyday men and women are experiencing. 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,” said Georgene Huang, Fairygodboss co-founder and CEO.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Progyny and The Female Quotient on this research. We were eager to uncover key differences between men and women when it comes to work and home life in the hopes that opening up conversations around these differences can help us identify where progress is still lacking, as well as where to go from here,” she added.

The Female Quotient is a company committed to advancing diversity in the workplace through collaboration, activating solutions for change and creating measurements for accountability. They do this through the Girls’ Lounge and Equality Lounge, which are pop-up experiences at conferences, corporations, and college campuses that bring women (and men) together to transform workplace culture.

“The #MeToo movement has been instrumental for 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. Now we need to create solutions for change, and accountability for action. Transformation must include men and women working together,” says Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient.

Progyny is a leading fertility benefits management company that combines clinical and emotional guidance, science, technology and data to provide comprehensive value-based fertility solutions for self-insured employers. Progyny’s benefit plans are designed to improve outcomes, shorten time to pregnancy and reduce total fertility-related costs.

Here are some highlights from the study:
  • 78% of men and 75% women say the #MeToo movement has not made an impact at their workplace; 17% of men said they are less likely to engage with women in mentorship or project collaborations, while just 5% of women said the same about men.
  • 77% of men said their career takes priority versus 35% of women; 88% of men said their career takes priority because they are the breadwinner, while 78% women said their partner’s career takes priority because of salary
  • 47% of women who answered that their career takes priority said this is the case because they are more ambitious; 40% of men who answered that their partner’s career takes priority said this is the case because their partner is more ambitious, as well.
  • 55% of women said they have found that someone was paid more than them for doing the same job compared to 49% of men. However, men and women are equally likely to do nothing upon finding out about a salary discrepancy; 38% of men and 38% of women reported this

The survey captured responses from 400 participants who showed very different perspectives on issues such as career prioritization, salary and household management. Given that America is the only developed nation not to have any form of a federal paid leave program, only 15 percent of workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided short-term disability insurance, we have a long way to go.

The amount of college debt incurred can also play a major role in the different ways men and women negotiate salaries and pursue certain types of job. The majority of college debt in the US is held by women, which makes this undoubtedly a gender issue, and also brings into play discussions about student loans. In other developed countries, access to funding for education is handled very differently, where governments often pay for college tuition. Therefore, the need for short term loans UK may not necessarily have the same long-term financial impact the way college loans in the US do, for example.

This is the kind of study that every employee and employer should take note of and use it to start their own workplace conversations that benefit everyone mutually. It can also be a way for those running a household to assess the balance created, especially if there is more than one person working outside the home. We are sharing some of the data that stood out most to us from the research in this article, but encourage you to check out the full study by clicking HERE.


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