Female HR directors more likely to view workplace as sexist, reports charity

Almost half of female HR directors and decision-makers think their workplaces are sexist, compared with just a quarter of men in the same position, according to the Young Women’s Trust charity.

Its survey of 800 HRDs and decision makers revealed that one in eight large employers felt that sexual harassment went unreported in their organisation. A tenth were aware of formal sexual harassment complaints.

When asked whether they thought sexism still existed in most workplaces, 63% of HR directors agreed, rising to 76% among female decision-makers.

“Too many young women are facing sexism and sexual harassment while trying to carry out their jobs,” said Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of the Young Women’s Trust.

“It is shocking how many employers are aware of this in their own workplace – yet the problem continues.”

Joe Levenson, director of campaigns at the charity, said the disparity in perceptions of sexism at work may be down to a lack of awareness.

He said: “While of course there are many excellent male managers, some men may not be aware of the experiences of sexism suffered by women in the workplace – sometimes it may be brushed under the carpet or dismissed as banter.”

“So much sexism at work goes unreported, women fear that they will not be taken seriously or it will be bad for their career.”

Statistics from conciliation service Acas showed a 51% drop in the number of sex discrimination complaints in 2014/15 after the introduction of tribunal fees, despite a 14% increase in calls to its helpline on the same subject – 80% of which were from women.

Now fees have now been ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, legal experts expect a rise in sexual harassment and discrimination claims.

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