Study reveals that some men believe that their 'biology' makes them better in the workplace
Over the years, we've made some progress in humankind's pursuit of absolute gender equality. The #MeToo campaign toward the tail end of 2017 saw serial sexual harassers such as Harvey Weinstein and Louis CK get their comeuppance, while the Women's Marches that arose toward the beginning of last year indicate that we're up for the fight of ensuring that gender doesn't unfairly play a role in the eventual success or failure of our lives.
That being said, there's still a long ways to go. One of the most egregious examples of gender inequality often comes at work, and a recent study shows that for all of our progress in the subject, there is still some disagreement as to what is responsible for workplace lack of equality among everything else.
To explore this further, a study by the Pew Research Center took a closer look at America's views on gender differences, asking as many as 4,573 men and women about the different gender perceptions in modern society, and why they thought these differences exist.
Keep in mind that women and men are somewhat different on a biological level; when asked about personal hobbies, how we express emotions or even our various parenting styles, the majority of American men and women were in agreement that there were some genuine gender differences.
In the office, those differences were more of a topic of debate, as the study shows. A majority of the people surveyed (around 63 percent) said that men and women were good at similar things in the workplace, the ones who were in disagreement were also in disagreement as to why.
Of the 35 percent of women who said that men and women were good at different things, 65 percent said this was down to "societal expectations" rather than anything else. For the 38 percent of men who thought that gender accounted for differing workplace performance, 61 percent believed that women were good at different things thanks to "biological differences".
A separate question by the guys at the Pew Research Center shines a light on the perceived gender differences in the workplace.
For women, the most desirable societal traits were physical attractiveness (35 percent) or nurturing/empathy (30 percent), but men were desired for their "honesty and morality" or their "professional and financial success", while leadership, strength and work ethic weren't far behind. “Far fewer cite these as examples of what society values most in women,” the report says.
The Pew Research Center wasn't the only publication to ask a similar question of men and women in the workplace; the University of Delaware found that women are given less credit in the workplace for giving similar ideas and speaking out at a similar frequency to men, while a study from Harvard Business Review said it rather simply: “Gender inequality is due to bias, not differences in behavior.”
There you have it, folks. On the whole, we're doing a lot better with gender equality than we were, say, 50 or 60 years ago, but these studies still show there's still a weird (and kind of arbitrary) discrimination when it comes to the men and women working alongside us.
Let's hope that moving forward, women get to show exactly what they can do on a similar footing to men.