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Gender inequality: More than just pay

24 October 2016

Westpac research released today reveals more than half (52 per cent) of working Australian women believe they have experienced some form of gender-related inequality in the past five years in the workplace. However, only two in five (41 per cent) working men believe they have witnessed inequality directed towards their female colleagues.

 

Designed to unravel the areas of inequality, the research was commissioned by Westpac and surveyed 2,289 people[1] from across Australia, who are over 18 years of age and are currently in the workforce, or have recently been in the workforce. The online research took place between 20 and 25 May 2016.

 

The Westpac 2016 Women of Influence Report found the most common forms of inequality Australian women feel they face isn’t the gender pay gap, but being expected to do the caring/housekeeping duties (even though it is not part of their job description), given less interesting job tasks/duties and being the target of jokes or innuendo.

 

Women in senior management are the most likely to believe they have experienced a gender-based salary differential (29 per cent) compared to 8 per cent of entry level positions, 11 per cent of mid-senior level employees, 21 per cent mid-level management, and 7 per cent of self-employed/business owners.

 

Ainslie van Onselen, Westpac’s Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion and Diversity said, “Gender inequality comes in many different forms; it is more than just a salary – it is a form of subtle sexism. Despite the significant positive steps we have made in improving gender equality in Australia, women remain the main contributors of unpaid work at home, and when they’re in the office it appears they’re also being expected to undertake the housekeeping duties too.

 

“Feedback from women suggests Australian workforces are continuing to use gender stereotypes and expectations in employment, which are contributing to the underlying cause of gender inequality. This is evident from our research that shows male workers around Australia perceive their female bosses as performing more poorly than male bosses on every metric including business knowledge, achieving results, productivity, communication skills, making a positive change in the workplace and overall performance.” Ainslie said.

 

Westpac research shows men rate their male bosses 6 per cent higher overall. This is especially prevalent when asked about allowing colleagues to realise their potential and making a positive change in the workplace, with male bosses rating 9 per cent higher than women.

 

According to the report, while women are more likely to have said they have witnessed every type of workplace gender inequality directed towards their female colleagues than men, 41 per cent of men believe they have witnessed some kind of inequality.

 

After witnessing what they believe to be an incident of gender-related inequality in the workplace, three quarters (74 per cent) of men said they stepped in to address the situation. Some of the most common actions men said they took were offering support or assistance to the victim (31 per cent), voicing concerns to management (22 per cent), and warning others in the workplace of the behaviours witnessed (21 per cent).

 

When taking action, men are more likely to have said they would confront the perpetrator – voicing their concerns personally to the perpetrator (21 per cent) and stepping in publicly during the incident (12 per cent).

 

Ainslie added, “A lack of awareness can compound the issue of gender inequality itself. It is encouraging to see that so many people are recognising subtle sexism and gender inequality in the workplace; however more direct action is needed, such as reporting the incident to human resources.

 

“At Westpac we believe increased diversity, combined with inclusive behaviours and leadership, results in better business performance.  We work hard to foster a healthy, safe and inclusive environment, free from harassment and discrimination. In addition to compulsory training for all our employees so they understand their responsibilities and our approach, we provide multiple avenues to assist employees to raise an issue, internally and externally. Silence on inequality doesn’t solve the issue and we encourage our employees to stand up and voice their concern.”

 

For more information, visit www.rubyconnection.com.au.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Sarah Scott                                                   Georgina Adcock

Westpac                                                         Map and Page

M: 0499 727 242                                            T: 02 9368 4501   M: 0411 331 552

sarah.scott@westpac.com.au                        georgina.adcock@mapandpage.com.au

Key Statistics

  • More than half (52 per cent) per cent of working Australian women say they have experienced some form of gender-related inequality in the past 5 years in the workplace
  • Being expected to do the caring/housekeeping duties (even though it is not part of their job description) (25 per cent)
  • Given less interesting job tasks/duties (17 per cent)
  • Being the target of jokes/innuendo (15 per cent)
  • Only 2 in 5 (41 per cent) working men believe they have witnessed inequality directed towards their female colleagues. Women are more likely to believe they have witnessed every type of gender-related inequality (57 per cent per cent of working women have witnessed some form of workplace inequality directed towards their female colleagues).
  • Those in business unit/senior management are the most likely to say they have experienced gender based salary differential (29 per cent; cf. entry level 8 per cent, mid-senior level employee 11 per cent, mid-level management 21 per cent, self-employed/business owner 7 per cent)
  • Male workers perceive female bosses as performing more poorly than male bosses across every single metric, and rating their male bosses 6 per cent higher overall. This is especially prevalent in “allowing colleagues to realise their potential” and “making a positive change in the workplace” (male bosses rated 9 per cent higher)
  • After believing they have experienced/witnessed an incident of gender-related inequality in the workplace, 74 per cent of working Australians say they have stepped in to rectify the situation. The most common actions people say they take are:
    • Offering support or assistance to the victim (36 per cent)
    • Voicing concerns personally to management (25 per cent)
    • Warning others in the workplace of the behaviours experienced/witnessed (23 per cent)
  • When taking action, working men say they are more likely to confront the perpetrator – voicing their concerns personally to the perpetrator (21 per cent; cf. women 19 per cent) and stepping in publicly during the incident (12 per cent; cf. women 10 per cent)

 

Westpac 2016 Women of Influence Research

The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 2,289 Australians who are over 18 years of age who have ever worked. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission based panel, between 20 and 25 May 2016. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

 

About Westpac Women’s Markets

Westpac was the first Australian bank with a business unit exclusively dedicated to supporting women – working alongside women to help them build sustainable and profitable futures via the provision of education, information and networking opportunities across Australia. Westpac’s Ruby Connection is an interactive online community designed to inspire, educate, promote and connect Australian women no matter what they do, where they live and who they bank with. Ruby provides an opportunity for all Australian women to learn from each other www.rubyconnection.com.au.

 

The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards

Launched in 2012, The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards is committed to increasing the visibility of women’s leadership in Australia, highlighting the important contribution women make in creating a bold and diverse future for Australia.

Finalists were announced in The Australian Financial Review on 29 September. Winners will be announced on Thursday, 27 October 2016 at a gala event held in Sydney’s Town Hall

Please join the conversation at #100WOI

 

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[1] Men and women