Closing the gender gap relies heavily on the broad acknowledgement that the gap actually exists.
But new research conducted by SurveyMonkey in the US has shown that this is exactly where the problem lies.
The survey of 13,331 adults examined views toward gender issues in the workplace, with the majority of male respondents seemingly considering the gender divide to no longer be a problem.
When asked, “Would you say that obstacles to gender equality are gone or that significant obstacles still exist?” 58% of U.S. male respondents said all obstacles had been eliminated, while 38% said that only certain barriers still existed.
Unsurprisingly, women saw the issue quite differently. Only 36% of female respondents believed obstacles had been eliminated, while 60% thought barriers remained in place.
The contrast between employees in tech was even more startling, with 61% of men responding that gender was no longer an obstacle despite only 30% of their female colleagues supporting this view.
As these findings suggest, the path to workplace equality is destined to be a rocky one despite the conspicuousness of the problem. Women in tech are disadvantaged from the outset. In Silicon Valley, only 11% of tech company executive positions are held by women.
Only 25% of IT jobs are held by women, and 63% of the time, women will receive a lower salary offer than men, for the same job, at the same company.
But these sharp statistics seem to go hand in hand with a collective male ambivalence to the problem.
Almost none of the world’s biggest tech companies have made significant progress to closing the gender gap. In fact, many of the largest companies like Google, Facebook and Uber have been caught up in their fair share of gender-based controversies. From sexual harassment claims to pay disclosure allegations.
Just this week, Google has had to talk its way out of allegations that there are still sweeping pay disparities between its male and female employees. The company has so far resisted handing over salary records to The US government, arguing it’s too financially burdensome and logistically demanding.
Hardly a legitimate excuse for a billion-dollar entity, with more than substantial resources.
Shifting the dial for women in the workplace and in the tech industry more specifically requires more than a reluctant, half-baked commitment to the issue. A commitment that can never make ground, if there’s no backing behind it.
Lasting change is wholly dependent on a widespread attitude shift. It is dependent on companies acknowledging the problem, understanding the problem and believing things should be different.
Make no mistake, the gap is real. It’s time it was closed for good.