TEAM LEWIS Foundation released findings from a new global survey conducted in support of HeForShe which reveals the challenges women face in an increasingly digital world. HeForShe is the United Nations Women’s entity for engaging men and boys in support of gender equality and empowerment of women.
The study shows that, despite improvements around women in senior management roles, job security and financial rewards for women are still lagging. More men reported receiving a bonus over the last year in 2023 than in 2021, whereas women experienced the reverse.
A third of women noted the lack of female mentors and role models in the workplace. This was even more pronounced when looking at Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles. In tech, only five percent of leadership positions are held by women. One-quarter (26%) of women in the study state that they have felt prevented from pursuing a job due to a lack of representation or role models. One-third cite a lack of opportunities or visibility. This issue becomes more evident as younger women, aged 18-24, are the most reluctant to consider a career in STEM. Interestingly, younger men are also noticing this trend. Nearly half of men aged 18-24 (45%) stated that they believe there is a stigma around women in STEM.
“As women continue to participate in STEM and online spaces, men need to step up and become better allies,” said Inez Odom, Vice President, Professional Development from TEAM LEWIS. “Our research shows that when it comes to solving issues in the workplace, men don’t believe it is their responsibility to act. One-third of men feel it is not their place to challenge gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Nearly a third of men feel that it is not their place to challenge sexism online. That isn’t good enough. It is time for men to take accountability and speak out against sexism both in the real world and online.”
The research also indicates that online spaces are unwelcoming to women. About half of men (47%) and women (53%) agree that the number of sexist comments they see online makes them uncomfortable. More than one-third (35%) of women agree that they do not feel comfortable in online spaces where men are more prevalent. Three in ten women agree that sexism has prevented them from joining some online communities.