Sex bias stops women climbing career ladder

Sexual harassment and discrimination remain barriers to the career progress
of women below management level, according to a report.

The study by Opportunity Now finds a third of the 1,000 women surveyed
believe they have been directly discriminated against and one in 10 have
experienced harassment and bullying.

Women from ethnic minorities are more than twice as likely to report bullying
and harassment and more likely to report discrimination at the point of
promotion than their white colleagues.

The research finds older women and women under 30 find it particularly hard
to gain promotion.

Almost half of women aged over 50 have never been promoted and neither have
52 per cent of women aged between 18 and 30.

Clara Freeman, chairman of Opportunity Now, called for better training for
women in non-managerial roles, which the report also highlighted as inadequate.

"Over half of our respondents believe their potential is not being
fulfilled and almost two-thirds aspire to higher grades," she said.

"If employers fail to exploit this opportunity by opening up equality
programmes, training and development and flexible work options to women in
non-managerial positions then they risk losing a wealth of hidden talent."

The study shows nine out of 10 women think balancing work and family is the
biggest problem they must overcome to advance in their careers.

More than half of respondents think they have to put their careers ahead of
family commitments if they want to progress.

By Ross Wigham

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