New Poll Reveals Troubling Gender Bias at Work

Yes, we’ve made progress, but there’s still a long way to go. 

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Photo by Suedhang/Getty Images

There’s no doubt that women have made many strides at work—the number of female world leaders has doubled since 2005, the wage gap has decreased somewhat amongst younger workers, and many find women more qualified for leadership positions. However, barriers—both financial and personal—persist for women looking to climb the ladder at work, achieve more in politics, or simply find a work-life balance that mimics their male counterparts. To celebrate the progress, MAKERS, a women’s leadership and media platform, has partnered with AOL on a documentary that celebrates the power of female activism, while empowering viewers to take action and continue to make a change.

Titled “Once and For All,” the film celebrates the 20th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in Beijing, China. The conference marked the largest-ever gathering of women’s advocates, with 47,000 activists and world leaders joined together and developed the Beijing Platform for Action, an agenda for women’s empowerment.

To raise awareness about the documentary and the #OnceAndForAll campaign​, The Huffington Post and YouGov conducted 1,000 interviews in October 2015 to understand what gender biases still exist in the workplace.

Despite the progress that has been made since the 1995 conference, the Huffington Post/YouGov poll highlights some troubling statistics on women’s equality in the workplace. For example, 65 percent of women polled still don’t think men consider them equals at work, and 35 percent of women see gender bias as “very common.” Only 18 percent of men find gender bias “very common” in the workplace.

The majority of both men and women agree that men often earn more, but there is bias against women’s negotiating power. Only 8 percent of men felt women would be more successful at negotiating than men, and 51 percent of women felt men would be more successful negotiators.

The poll also revealed several gender biases prevalent in politics—especially when it comes to the possibility of a female president. While 38 percent of women felt the U.S. would have a female in the White House within the next five years, only 28 percent of men chose the same. Additionally, 58 percent of women felt it is “very important” for women to be represented in politics, but only 47 percent of men felt the same.

Despite the progress that has been made in the past 20 years, there’s still a long way to go. When Real Simple polled readers to find out how they feel about “ambition,” the survey revealed that only 38 percent of women would characterize themselves as “very or extremely ambitious,” compared to 51 percent of men. Additionally, a recent Women in the Workplace survey from LeanIn.org found that women are still underrepresented in the C-suite, and suffer from inadequate mentorship networks.

So how can you help? Visit Makers.com, and take one of several suggested actions—you can host a screening, donate to the Global Fund for Women, and watch the film, which is out today.