Women in the workplace nearly three times as likely as men to be target of sexist jokes

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10th October, 2022 No Comments

Research reveals gender biased language and stereotypes are widespread in the workplace…

A poll has found gender biased language and use of stereotypes is widespread within UK workplaces, with women asked to make tea or coffee almost three times (42%) more than men (16%). Women are also more than twice as likely than men (50% vs 21%) to be asked about the wellbeing of their children, and twice as likely to be asked to do menial or admin-based tasks (37% vs 19%).

The survey also found women are made the target of sexist jokes almost three times more than men (43% vs 15%) showcasing the deeply ingrained gender bias which permeates UK workplace culture.

The latest research from Samsung UK and Ireland also found UK employees are using biased language on average four times a week (80%), with almost half (46%) revealing that gender biased language is showing up at work. It’s not just in informal conversations, but is also being used in formal settings, with 40% experiencing gender biased language in meetings whilst nearly one in three (30%) have experienced it during an interview, which is particularly concerning from a workplace discrimination perspective.

Nearly a third of workers (31%) admit that it makes them feel uncomfortable when hearing colleagues, customers or clients using gender biased language. For example, respondents cited: “persistently being called lady”, “sweetheart or darling all the time”, referred to as a woman “’of my age’ because I required a fan in a meeting room” or “being called girl”.

Tanya Weller, Marketing Director, Home Appliances at Samsung Electronics (UK & Ireland) Ltd. & Founder of Employee Resource Group, Women@Samsung, said: “The findings have revealed some shocking revelations about the stereotypes used towards women at work and how our choice of words is creating barriers to inclusivity in the workplace. Like all things, language adapts with time, and we know that as a society, we must evolve with it, by implementing a roadmap that drives greater equality and inclusion.

These findings tell us the crucial role language plays in normalising gender stereotypes at work: subtle phrases like “Hi Guys”, is something many of us say without thinking, but maybe without realising it, we’re alienating people. This acts a great reminder to be thoughtful in the way we express ourselves as individuals and as businesses. For instance, we work closely with Textio to ensure that we set things off as we mean to go on and apply gender inclusive language in all of our job adverts at Samsung UK & Ireland.”

While there is always more work to do, the research suggests that UK employees are starting to challenge this vocabulary with 64% of us admitting to calling out gender biased language – of those, 28% called it out to the person directly, 22% reported it to their boss and 14% reported it to HR. Furthermore, 9 in 10 (92%) are making a conscious effort to use inclusive language at work with terms such as ‘team’ and ‘all’.

Yet despite this, nearly a fifth (19%) admitted they have wanted to correct someone at work for using this language but chose not to because they didn’t have the confidence to do so.

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