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UK Insights

Will you #PledgeForParity?

Samantha Scruggs

Brand and Communications Manager, Kantar

Policy 08.03.2016 / 08:00

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A closer look into UK gender inequality

On International Women’s Day 2016 we’re being encouraged to pledge to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; to challenge conscious and unconscious bias; to call for gender-balanced leadership; and to value women and men’s contributions equally.  At Kantar we’ve been exploring our data to see how people feel about the gender inequalities that still exist.

On average, women are still paid 16% less than men per hour of work across the entire EU economy. In the workplace, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, including decision-making function in politics and in corporate boardrooms. Eurobarometer data from our TNS Opinion found that women hold only 27% of seats in national parliaments and governments; 18% of board seats; and 3% CEO positions.

However, almost all Europeans (94%) agree that equality between men and women is a fundamental right. In fact, three quarters of Europeans (76%) think that tackling inequality between men and women should be an EU priority.

In the UK, when asked which areas of gender inequality need to be dealt with most urgently, British people responded with tackling the problems of ‘violence against women’ (55%) and ‘women being paid less than men for the same work’ (52%), as the top priorities. And the UK is ahead of Europe when asked whether they agree with the statement ‘women are less willing than men to make a career for themselves’ 77% of Brits disagreed compared to an EU average of 68%. 

When we ask people how to tackle gender inequality in Europe respondents are most likely to say ‘ensuring women earn the same as men for the same work’ (42%) as the most effective way to increase the number of women in the labour market. A significant proportion also mentioned ‘making childcare more accessible’  (36%); ‘increasing flexible work arrangements’ (33%); and ‘making it easier for women to combine a job with household and care responsibilities’ (32%).

Our expert on women, Elisa Birtwistle, from our Futures Company, comments on the 2016 theme of #PledgeForParity noting that “Changing legislation is one significant step in the right direction ... The real challenge is changing socially ingrained gender norms and expectations”

Birtwistle offers insights on the current and future state of gender inequality:

  • 'Gendered attributes' which have been typically considered 'female' - e.g. collaboration, empathy, diplomacy, flexibility - are becoming more recognised as valuable in a knowledge economy (rather than manufacturing economy)
  • There is increasing awareness of 'unconcious bias' - both amongst senior leadership teams and amongst women themselves.
  • More and more businesses are publishing their salary data, enabling greater transparency and obliging organisations to address their gender pay gaps.
  • Millennials have a much more 'gender neutral' mindset to roles in relationships and in the workplace, which will contribute to the pace of change in socially ingrained gender norms.

The vast majority of the EU agrees, tackling inequality between men and women is necessary to establish a fairer society (93% of women and 90% of men).

Make your pledge, here.

Source : Kantar TNS, Kantar Futures

Editor's Notes

The data used in this report is based on the EUROBAROMETER survey by TNS opinion & social, a consortium created between TNS political & social, TNS UK and TNS opinion. Data was collected between the 29th of November and the 9th of December 2014. The special Eurobarometer 428 is part of wave 82.4 and covers the population of the respective nationalities of the European Union Member States, resident in each of the Member States and aged 15 years and over.

Journalists, download the full data sets by clicking the link(s) above. For more information or to interview Samantha Scruggs please, contact us


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