Research reveals millennial men believe women are being unfairly favoured at work
According to new research from the University of Canberra, millennial men are leading a backlash against women's rights.
The cohort of men, born between 1982 and 2000, are backed by their older Generation X brothers in the belief that they are being left out of the conversation about gender equality, and that there is too much political correctness at work. Almost half said that their rights are being compromised by the recent focus on gender equality.
Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has since stated, "There is more support for gender equality than ever before but there is also more opposition than ever before."
The research - which is the first of its kind - surveyed 2122 Australians across gender, age and demographics, and found that there was a marked difference in the answers provided by male and female respondents.
Nearly half of the male participants agreed with the statement that "gender equality strategies in the workplace do not take men into account." But while this feeling was strongest among the millennial cohort, it was also consistent across men of all ages. The same men believed that they had been increasingly excluded from measures to improve gender parity.
Additionally, four in 10 Australians said that political correctness primarily benefits women in the workplace. Around 30 per cent of male respondents believe that their jobs have been impacted in some way because of their gender, and just over one-third of men think that women are more equipped to handle household chores.
The report's authors, Professor Mark Evans and Vanessa Haussegger, issued the following comment on the findings: "The observation that younger generations of men view themselves as outsiders, actively excluded from what is now increasingly one of the key debates in many workplaces indicates that there is no room for complacency if we want to avoid a backlash against workplace interventions to address gender inequality."
However, Professor Evans - from the 50/50 Foundation at the University of Canberra - pointed out that there is a context to the findings. "It’s a response to their own feelings of economic insecurity," he wrote. "It's also partly a product of witnessing the difficulties experienced by their parents in dual earner families and consequent rising divorce rates."
As a Generation X man with moderate political views reportedly said during the proceedings, "Yes sexual discrimination is a problem for Australian women but men are having it tough as well ... We all fear being middle aged and unemployed. The expectations on us from our parents, our children and at work are overwhelming."
This comes at a time when Haussegger says progress towards gender equality in Australia is in jeopardy. "The current climate of bias and backlash is proving immune to regulatory control ... Australian women and girls are failing to flourish as well as they should, given [the nation's] decade-long world number one ranking in female education."