Knowing Your Workplace Rights as a Woman in 2019
Recent research indicates that women are disadvantaged in the workplace due to gender equality issues, as well as aspects related to pregnancy and other gender-related health issues.
According to recent research by Salary Finance, a salary-linked employee benefits provider that partners with employers to deliver financial wellbeing for staff, women are more likely to have money worries than men, with 43% of women suffering from financial worry compared with 36% of men. Women are also more likely to be refused a loan from a bank, which puts women in a worse financial situation than men.
Salary Finance’s research also discovered that less than half (47%) of working women feel that they are treated as an equal to their male colleagues in similar roles. 34% agreed that their employer cares about them and understands the specific issues that women face in the workplace, 33% agreed that their employer is making an effort to improve the workplace for women, and 30% agreed that their employer has wellbeing initiatives that cater specifically for women’s needs.
Salary Finance also developed a “Financial Fitness Score” – a measurable way to assess employee financial wellbeing, looking at answers to 10 behavioral questions concerning their spending, saving and borrowing habits – the average for men was 3.3/5, whereas the average for women was lower at 3/5. These lower “Financial Fitness Scores” could be somewhat related to the gender pay gap – recent ONS data suggests that the gender pay gap is 8.6% among full-time employees.
Speaking on equal pay, Michael McNally, Employment Law Solicitor, Warners Solicitors, says:
“While unequal pay has been unlawful since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, there is no law about the size of an organization’s gender pay gap. The government has introduced some legislation that has been designed to combat this, for example, requiring large organizations to publish gender pay gap information and the introduction of shared parental leave.
However, there is still a long way to go. A recent BBC article stated that 74% of companies that had reported had a pay gap that favours men. It is clear that closing the gender pay gap is not going to happen quickly.”
Taking a career break to give birth or raise a child can be a source of worry and anxiety for many reasons. The most common negative effects that women have experienced following a pregnancy-related career break include reduced feeling of financial security (24%), reduced salary against own expectations (23%), judgement from male colleagues (21%), reduced feeling of job security (20%) and even stunted progression (19%).
Reduced feeling of financial security was highest for women working in the law enforcement and security sector, whereas stunted career progression was most felt by women working in business, consulting and management roles. In recruitment and HR, females feel a lack of flexibility, and those returning to jobs in science and pharmaceuticals felt their role had significantly changed upon returning to work.
The research also revealed that 88% of working women have experienced some sort of gender-related pain (such as period pain) while at work in the past. The statistics showed that period pain affects women for 8.5 working days, on average, with 1.8 days taken off sick, and 6.7 days in work whilst struggling with pain or other symptoms.
Most common feelings whilst on their period at work included being uncomfortable (42%), irritable (36%), anxious (33%), sluggish (29%) and distracted (28%). A further 14% went on to admit that they feel overwhelmed whilst on their period at work, and 12% feel unfocused. 36% said work rate decreases when on the period (12% of which said the change was significant).
Almost half (45%) of the women surveyed think sanitary products are too expensive, and 11% also claimed to have experienced some form of ‘period poverty’. 28% wished that their work would provide free sanitary products as a part of the benefits package.
Asesh Sarkar, CEO and co-founder at Salary Finance, commented on the findings:
“While there are many positives to be taken from our research, it also shows that we still have a way to go. Putting processes in place to help female employees feel cared for and respected at work, as well as giving them fair and equal opportunities to their male counterparts, makes them happier (and more productive), so businesses of all sizes should look at how they can enable and support the women in their workplace, to help them thrive even further.”
Learn more about the research at salaryfinance.com