It has been 36 years since the introduction of the first major piece of legislation, in the UK, to promote gender equality (Sex Discrimination Act 1975). However a recent research conducted by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) has found that women are still finding an unbreakable ‘glass ceiling’ which is hampering their efforts to succeed at the Board level.
The ILM research has found that women have tended to set their sights lower than men and limit their ambitions when seeking promotions into the higher ranks. This relates to the low level of self-confidence and expectations. 73% of women felt that there are barriers preventing their success in the management ranks. 70% of men had high levels of self confidence compared with 50% of women.
When it comes to caring for the family, women have shown a preference to family life. Indeed even after the advent of statutory paternity leave provisions, 42% of women had taken statutory maternity leave, and 21% had left work to care for children; only 9% of men had taken paternity leave, and just 2% of the men had left work to care for children.
These are extremely worrying findings for a society consisting of 50% men and 50% women. Whilst legislation exists in many shapes and forms including the provisions of Equality Act 2010, it is only time before additional measures are needed to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality for us in the United Kingdom.
You will find an Executive Summary of the research here