What are the pressing issues on women’s minds today?

In partnership with Salesforce

We team up with Salesforce to investigate…

The past couple of years have undoubtedly been a watershed moment for women, with the Me Too and Time’s Up movements only being part of the progress towards gender equality.

But there is still a long way to go, and from the gender pay gap to the blurred lines around sexual harassment, there is a lot of uncertainty.

In an effort to see what was on our readers’ minds this summer, we commissioned a nationwide survey in partnership with global tech company Salesforce to explore women’s hopes and fears for the future.

In the UK-wide poll of 1,000 women, our findings proved extremely revealing.

The world has definitely changed for the current generation of women, but despite the progress, they still seem to lack some of the confidence to stand up and make themselves heard – younger women are the least likely to ask for a pay rise to correct a disparity between their male colleagues, and the most worried about reporting sexual harassment in the workplace for fear of damaging their career prospects.

However despite a reluctance to voice their issues, our findings show that the younger demographic of women are actually more ‘awake’ to the injustices that face them. The figures show that they are more aware of the world around them and more likely to reject problematic behaviour that previous generations of women have put up with, from emotional labour to wage discrimination. They just need a voice.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

According to our research the Me Too movement has been invaluable in raising awareness around sexual harassment, particularly in the workplace. But with 20 per cent of the working women (and almost a third of Marie Claire readers) experiencing some form of office sexual harassment, it seems that people are reluctant to come forward and call out inappropriate behaviour. Why? Our research shows that there is still confusion as to what actually constitutes sexual harassment, with 50 per cent of our readers admitting to being unsure if someone had crossed the line.

GENDER EQUALITY

The extent of the gender pay gap has recently been unearthed, with calls for more transparency on wage discrepancy across all industries. According to our research, there is still a reluctance to ask for wage equality on an individual scale, but progress is being made, with half of the Marie Claire readers we spoke to having already stuck their necks out. And while the younger generation do appear more likely to be taken advantage of in terms of pay, they also seem to be the most determined to reach the very top of their career. With 92% of women agreeing that more needs to be done to close the pay gap, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

EMOTIONAL LABOUR

Work has changed considerably over the past 50 years, with 61 per cent of the women we spoke to claiming to be the main breadwinner of the family. While this is certainly progress, our research shows that we have some way to go in dividing up domestic work too. One in four Marie Claire readers admit that they do all the household chores, and half of our readers feel their career has suffered since starting a family. We need to ensure that we’re carving out ‘me’ time in our daily lives – something 35 per cent of you are already doing.

HOW TO FUTURE PROOF YOURSELF

Technology is advancing at such a fast pace and transforming the labour market that in order to get ahead of the game and become a future leader today, you have to be extremely agile – with future proofing your career emerging as the number-one work worry from our survey. Similarly, in terms of changing careers, our research showed that while 60% of you want to retrain or change career direction, only 38% of women know where to start.

‘This finding is hardly surprising,’ says Annie Auerbach, author of FLEX: The Modern Woman’s Handbook and co-founder of trends intelligence agency Starling Strategy. ‘The glass ceiling gets lots of airtime when we talk about women’s progress in the workplace, but we should also be looking at the sticky floor.’

But according to Auerbach, in order to progress further we just need to redefine learning.

‘As the Marie Claire survey shows, over half of all women claim to be the main breadwinner,’ she explains. ‘This puts an intense amount of pressure on their shoulders and they may be unwilling to take the risk of changing jobs – we need to see learning as something that happens throughout our lifetime and not just front-loaded in our early years.’ As futurist Alvin Toffler says, ‘Keep learning, reskill, pivot – and grow.’

Ultimately, our research suggests that progress is being made, with women getting increasingly better at recognising the injustices facing them, but with the current generation struggling more than those before them in getting their voices heard, we just need to bring them a microphone.

Marie Claire has heard your voice and we want to help.

In partnership with Salesforce, we will be hosting an inspiring live panel discussion to share expert advice on today’s world of work, helping to future-proof and diversify your career. Championing the power of equality in the workplace, our pros from across the business landscape will reveal their top tips for success and explore the skills you can learn now to create exciting opportunities and innovate the way you work.

Taking place on Tuesday 3 September at the Salesforce Tower, London, the live panel discussion will be chaired by Marie Claire Editor-in-chief Trish Halpin, with the key speakers including CEO of Salesforce Supermums Heather Black, coach and author Antoinette Dale Henderson and Creative Director and Co-founder of Blow Ltd Fiona McIntosh.

Tickets to the event are now sold out, but register your interest here to join the wait list, because together we really can build a future full of equal opportunities.

Sign up to the waitlist and join the conversation.

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