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Many managers are unwittingly preventing gender equality in the workplace, according to a new study.
Research published by the Fawcett Society revealed that a small group of decision-makers dubbed ‘barrier bosses’ are likely to hold back women that are working for them. Indeed, these people were more than twice as likely (16 per cent) to be against equality of opportunity compared to the general public (seven per cent).
Often, this is due to deep-rooted beliefs and cultural attitudes that some have towards their female staff members. For example, one in seven recruitment managers believed that they would lose out if men and women were more equal. Surprisingly, this perception was more common among women than men, with the figures showing that men were more likely (86 per cent) to support equality of opportunity for women than women themselves (81 per cent).
A further six in ten people believe that men in top jobs won’t make room for women unless they have to. Worryingly, nearly half (49 per cent) of recruitment decision-makers shared this view.
“They are the ones with the power over recruitment and their decisions are likely to be informed by their attitudes to equality. Whether it is conscious or unconscious bias, this is discrimination in action.”
Although the public in general had positive attitudes towards equality, these perceptions have not filtered far enough into the HR landscape. Smethers added that quotas would help to reduce discrimination in the workplace.