Sexism in the Workplace Statistics: Is the Pay Gap Narrowing in 2024?

Gender discrimination, or gender bias, is unequal treatment of individuals on the grounds of their gender. Workplace gender discrimination comes in many shapes and forms, with women being discriminated against most of the time. Even though women have made important gains in representation in recent years, especially in senior leadership, they’re still significantly discriminated against.

However, men are not safe from discrimination either—some of their work is going unrecognized and unrewarded as well. Check out the following statistics on sexism in the workplace to find out more about the treatment of women and men in the corporate world.

Top Sexism in the Workplace Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • About 42% of US women have faced discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender.
  • About 25% of women claim they earn less than men for doing the same job.
  • Women account for 47% of the total workforce in the US.
  • About 41% of US mothers don’t bring up their caregiving problems to their employer.
  • As of 2018, women earn $0.82 for every $1 earned by men.
  • For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women break the glass ceiling.
  • Almost 70% of UK women claim they’re pressured by society to put family first.
  • Over 8.2 million UK employees report they’ve been discriminated against on the grounds of their gender. 
  • At least 35% of UK employees have faced some form of sexism in the last two years.

Gender Inequality in the Workplace Statistics for 2024

Even though women make up almost half of the total US population and half of the total US workforce, they still continue to be underrepresented, underpaid, and discriminated against in many industries.

Check out the stats below to find out more about the state of gender inequality in today’s workplace.

1. 42% of women employed in the United States have faced sex-based discrimination in the workplace.

Gender discrimination comes in many forms. Women report various negative experiences, such as earning less than their male counterparts in the same job role, being left out of important assignments, or not being given a promotion. 

The survey further indicates that women are about twice as likely as men (42% vs 22%) to have experienced at least one of eight specific forms of gender discrimination.

2. One in four working women (25%) say they earned less than a man who was doing the same job.

Statistics on women facing inequality in the workplace suggest that even though women work more, they’re still being paid less for comparable work than men in almost every country in the world. The number of women entering economic life is steadily growing, but their fair remuneration for work has improved only slightly. 

Women’s inequality is present in all aspects of their working lives, from wages and employment opportunities to their access to managerial positions.

3. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women held only 29.9% of chief executive positions in 2020.

Discrimination against women in the workplace is evident—female employees are scarce at the top of the US workforce. Despite the huge advancements women made in the workplace in the last few decades, they still hold only a small percentage of leadership positions. This discrepancy is especially prominent in politics, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector.

However, it’s important to note that women accounted for only 10% of the top executive positions in 2016–2017, so there’s been a slight improvement ever since. 

4. A 2017 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 61% of US employees are aware of abuse in their workplace.

Sexism statistics show that almost 20% of American employees experienced bullying, while another 19% have witnessed it happen to other coworkers. Working in a hostile environment may seriously endanger employees’ health. It’s important for workers to contact HR if they’re subject to bullying or discrimination, and seek professional help from a therapist if they need it.

Some examples of bullying include:

  • verbal attacks,
  • exclusion from team activities,
  • spreading rumors,
  • isolation,
  • abusive criticism,
  • sabotaging your work,
  • humiliation, etc.

All of these can create a negative work environment and prevent someone from doing great work.

5. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58% of workers in the most at-risk jobs are women.

Gender inequality in the workplace statistics demonstrate that more and more women fear losing their jobs due to advancements in technology. The job positions most likely to be automated, such as administrative assistants, office clerks, bookkeepers, and cashiers, are all dominated by women. Some of their tasks are already being replaced by computers.

Furthermore, for every seven men in these occupations, there are 10 women. However, it’s important to note that women also dominate positions that are at the lowest risk for automation, such as nursing and childcare.

6. Women comprise 47% of the US workforce.

The percentage of females in the workforce has been declining since 1999—back then they made up 60% of the total labor force. Even though women’s labor participation is critical for the future of work, some of their occupations are at risk of automation, threatening their ability to retain their jobs in the future. However, some argue that automation provides new and more complex jobs, granting better job opportunities to women.

Furthermore, statistics indicate that only 4.8% of S&P companies have female CEOs. In order to achieve gender equality in the workplace, companies should provide the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities to both genders.

7. Around 41% of mothers working in the US said they had to hide their caregiving struggles from their employers.

A Catalyst-CNBC survey reveals that the issues women face in the workplace are growing due to the global pandemic. Women lost more than 64 million jobs in 2020, which is 5% of all jobs held by women. Many of these issues existed even before the pandemic, but Covid-19 has certainly made them worse. 

Some of the major challenges women face in the post-Covid workplace include:

  • insufficient childcare and caregiving support,
  • lack of access to flexible and remote work,
  • an increasing gender pay gap,
  • lack of sponsorship, and
  • unconscious bias.

8. Women make up 26% of employees in the computing workforce.

When it comes to gender roles in the workplace, articles show that women hold execution positions rather than core technical jobs in computing. Research analysts make up the highest percentage (43%) of women in the workplace in this sector, while 19% of women work as computer software engineers. Additionally, 20% work as computer programmers. 

9. Women are on average 30% less likely to be called for a job interview than men with the same qualifications.

Gender bias in hiring statistics also indicate that almost 90% of men and women hold some sort of bias against women. Even though some countries are better than others, there’s still some form of gender inequality everywhere. Most HR professionals know that gender equality is the right thing to advocate for, but when it comes to hiring, even the biggest supporters of diversity are prone to bias.

Furthermore, gender bias is higher for candidates with lower qualifications compared to those who know an additional language and have more work experience.

10. Women are 50% more likely to work in the public sector. 

The public sector includes work in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, international development initiatives, and educational institutions. Gender inequality in the workplace statistics for the US suggest that only 31% of women hold top leadership positions in this sector. 

The pay gap has grown in the last 15 years, with earnings for state and local workers decreasing compared to private sector employees. Benefits account for a slightly larger share of compensation for the public sector. However, state and local employees earn less than their counterparts in the private sector. On average, total compensation is 6.8% lower for state employees and 7.4% lower for local employees compared to private-sector employees.

Nevertheless, government positions offer important benefits, such as job security, a guaranteed pension, robust health plans, and better retirement plans when compared to the private sector.

11. Around 40% of men and women notice a double standard against female candidates in the digital marketing industry.

Gender bias can happen in any stage of recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees. Facts about gender bias in the workplace and statistics suggest that both women and men are more likely to hire men over women. Additionally, employers may place open positions on platforms with predominantly male candidates or actively target them with ads.

Job descriptions may also contain gender bias—men apply for jobs where they meet 60% of qualifications while women only apply for jobs where they meet 100% of qualifications. This suggests that if job descriptions include unnecessary requirements alongside strict ones, women are more likely to skip them.

12. In India, more than four in five working women (85%) claim to have missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender.

Gender discrimination at the workplace in India statistics indicate that women in India still face the strongest gender bias across Asia Pacific countries. 

The report further illustrates that even though 66% of women think that gender equality has improved compared to the past, more than 70% of working women and mothers feel that their family responsibilities often impact their career development.

13. For every 100 men promoted to managerial roles, only 86 women achieve the same status.

Sexism in the workplace 2022 statistics demonstrate that despite popular belief, women still haven’t closed the gender gap in the workplace. Men still get the majority of high-paying jobs, so there’s still a huge amount of work that needs to be done to close the gender gap. 

For this reason, business leaders can help close the gender gap by promoting equal and transparent hiring, compensation, evaluation, and promotion. Even though many companies claim their commitment to gender diversity, it’s important to remember that being constantly active in enlisting women in the workplace will help toward diminishing the gender gap. 

14. In 1960, women only earned $0.61 for every $1 a man earned.

Statistics on the history of gender discrimination in the workplace indicate that this figure increased to $0.82 by 2018. The wage gap is far worse for women of color—Black working women are paid $0.62, Native American $0.57, while Latinas earn $0.54 for every $1 earned by white men.

The reasons for the gender wage gap may be found in differences in the industries women and men work in, racist hiring, discriminatory promotion practices, and discrepancies in hours worked or years of experience. 

Sexism in the Workplace Statistics for the UK

Employees in the UK are facing different types of discrimination—and it doesn’t just happen to women. While many studies suggest that women face more gender discrimination issues in the workplace, some polls show that men are also likely to be discriminated against on the grounds of gender. 

15. Around 69% of women attest to feeling pressured by society to put family ahead of career.

It’s no surprise that women have made considerable efforts toward gender equality in the past century. However, despite this fact, patriarchal attitudes about what women are supposed to value still prevail in today’s world. Sexism statistics demonstrate that women are still pressured to stick to outdated gender norms—to prioritize family over career and even their own needs.

While societal expectations are to blame, workplace policies on maternity can also exacerbate this aspect of gender inequality.

16. Three quarters of all UK companies pay their male staff more than their female staff on average.

Additionally, articles on discrimination in the workplace indicate that in nine out of 17 sectors of the economy, men earn 10% or more on average than women. Findings from this report illustrate that women are more likely to work for employers who pay men more, which is mostly due to the presence of more senior men than women in the workforce.

17. Over 8.2 million employees in the UK say they’ve been discriminated against due to their gender.

The survey examined 2,000 employees in the UK—26% of those workers claimed they had been discriminated against because of their gender. Surprisingly, articles on gender discrimination demonstrate that more and more men feel as if they’ve been a victim to gender discrimination.

People are experiencing different types of discrimination—some people claim they’re been overlooked for promotion, while others feel they didn’t get the job on the grounds of gender.

18. Around 28.2% of people aged 18–24 believe they’ve experienced gender discrimination at work.

On the other hand, the percentage of those aged 25–34 who experienced gender discrimination at work is 38.4%, while 30.4% of those between 35–44 shared this experience. As we can see from these statistics on gender discrimination in the workplace, the proportion of employees who experienced some sort of gender discrimination in their job varies slightly by age.

19. Around 12.5% of UK people have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

The same survey reveals that a significant proportion of UK workers have experienced several other types of harassment or bullying in the workplace. Sexism in the workplace facts suggest that around 23% of workers have been bullied, 25.4% have been left out of work, and 11% found it challenging to make friends at work.

20. Around 35% of respondents in a BMA UK-wide survey said they experienced at least one example of sexism in the past two years.

Sexism in the workplace statistics further reveal that 21% of female doctors said this happened once a month and 26% of them said they witnessed sexism on a daily basis. However, the sad reality is that these statistics are not confined only to doctors. Sexist attitudes and behaviors are common everywhere, and most industries are reluctant to raise concerns for fixing the problem.

21. According to The Guardian, Ryanair revealed a gender pay gap of 72%.

Gender discrimination in the workplace in the UK still exists, and many employees are treated differently or unfairly based on their gender. Ryanair is the worst in the airline industry—women account for only 3% of the top quarter of earners at the airline. 

This figure is about four times the UK average and surpasses the gender pay gap of easyJet (45%). Only eight of the 554 Ryanair UK-based pilots are female, while women account for more than two-thirds of the low-paid cabin crew.

Sexism in the Workplace Statistics: The Takeaway

Women’s representation in the workplace has increased over the years, but they are still significantly underrepresented in leadership positions. This is especially true for Black women, who are extremely scarce at the top. Because few women are promoted to higher levels, men continue to outnumber women in managerial positions.

Women leaders are doing more than men in similar positions, like helping their team members find a balance between life and work, making sure their workloads are manageable and checking on their overall wellbeing. Employees with women managers are happier and less burned out, but very few companies recognize women who go above and beyond—and this needs to change. 

As you can see from the above statistics, sexism can harm employees and negatively affect their performance, sense of belonging, mental health, and job satisfaction. When employees feel that sexist behavior still persists in their workplace, they’re more likely to leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does gender inequality still exist in the workplace?

Gender inequality is still present in today’s workplace and takes many forms. It affects both genders, not only women. Gender inequality can be seen in organizational structures, processes, and practices. 

Very often it means unequal pay, barriers to promotion, bias against mothers, burnout in women, sexual harassment, bullying, and racism. As you can see, gender inequality is not limited only to unequal pay—Black women, LGBTQ+ women, and women of color continue to face challenges to rise to leadership positions.

They’re also more likely to experience aggressive behavior, such as offensive statements or insensitive questions about their race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity.

How long has gender inequality been around?

Gender inequality dates back some 8,000 years, and women still struggle to get equal rights around the world. Women’s status has faced many struggles—first, they fought for women’s property and voting rights, then they addressed workplace and legal inequality.

Gender balance has been the central topic in many societies, yet even the most gender-neutral countries like Sweden still face some form of gender inequality. In many societies, women have been viewed as less than human beings—they have faced intense discrimination, such as very little independence from their husbands, or being told that they have inferior brains.

How many adults in the UK agree that sexism is an issue in the workplace?

Around 65% of adults agree that sexism is still a problem in many workplaces. Women are more likely to share this opinion (74% vs 56%). One in five adults claim that sexism is still a problem in their current or previous workplace. These results indicate that even though sexism is a pervasive problem in employment as a whole, not many people notice this issue in their current workplace. Another study demonstrates that gender discrimination can take many forms and that slightly more men feel as though they’ve been a victim of gender discrimination compared to women (28% vs 23%).

How does gender affect the workplace?

Gender can lead to personal discrimination in HR practices, processes, and even organizational structures. Gender inequality can create a self-reinforcing system that can prolong discrimination throughout the organization and can lead to discrimination in HR policies, decision-making, and enactment.

Consequently, women tend to spend more time in unpaid family and household work, while men spend more time in paid work. Women’s average hours at work have increased, while men’s have declined marginally. Fathers also work more hours than other men and mothers work less than other women. Black mothers also spend more time at work compared to other mothers. Additionally, women outnumber men among part-time workers.

What percentage of managers are female?

Despite the advancements in women’s equality in leadership, this issue still remains a major barrier. Women still continue to lose managerial opportunities—for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women break the glass ceiling. The gap is even wider for specific groups, especially Black women (58 to 100 men) and Latinas (71 to 100 men).

Similarly, women are outnumbered by men in entry-level management positions. In 2020, they accounted for only 38% of manager-level positions compared to men (62%). 

What is the UK gender pay gap?

National gender pay gap data is gathered every year in the UK. Sexism in the workplace statistics indicate that the country has made significant progress over the last half a century. In 1970, the median gap was 47.6%, but it was reduced to 16.8% in 2016. 

Since women and men work different jobs, it can be challenging to determine the exact gender pay gap. For example, 90% of engineers are male, whereas 83% of primary school teachers are women. This data is responsible for 36% of the current gender pay gap. 

Furthermore, jobs that are dominated by women are paid less. Gender pay gap data indicates that men dominate senior positions, while 30% of women are in the lowest-paid segment and 20% are in the highest-paid one.


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