Despite undoubted progress in many sectors, we’re a long way from achieving gender equality in the workplace.
Women in full time work earn 10% less than men and make up just 17% of board directors of FTSE 100 companies - just two stats that show the need for more progress.
All industries need men and women
The fact is that all industries need to set aside old stereotypes. There simply aren’t tasks that ‘men can do’ and ‘women can do’. It’s about finding the right people with the right skill set. Why ignore half of the possible talent pool?
Take a look at the work of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg or YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki – these are inspirational female leaders in the male dominated tech industry that show how dated and meaningless gender stereotypes really are.
There are plenty of men who are useless at physical tasks and women who couldn’t care less about the fashion industry. A man could easily inspire primary school children to learn to read and a woman could easily arrange to airblast a piece of heavy machinery. If they have the right aptitude, experience and character for a job, a person’s gender is immaterial.
Men want equality too
It’s not just like this is a demand from women, who are angry at getting an unfair lot in life.
The Fawcett Society commissioned a study to mark its 150th anniversary and surprisingly that more men supported full gender equality than women.
The Telegraph reported how, of 8,000 male and female participants, 86 per cent of men said they wanted the women in their lives to have equal opportunities - compared to 81 per cent of women, who said they wanted gender equality for themselves. Just as telling, it found that 70 per cent of men believe equality would give the economy a boost.
10 male dominated industries that need to do better
So, with the right talents – and a consensus in favour – it is clear that women ought to have a fair crack at breaking into every industry.
Some have been good at this – most authors, teachers, journalists and insurance underwriters are women – but which are the professions with the most work to do?
Here’s ten that need to clean up their act:
Engineering – Fewer than one in five people employed in this sector are women.
Politics – Despite pats on the back all round for a record number of women in parliament, the House of Commons still fails to represent the country and is too ‘pale, male and stale’. Seven of 22 cabinet members are women and 191 of 650 MPs are women.
IT – Some estimates suggest that fewer than 15% of IT jobs are held down by women, and this rate even fell between 2000 and 2010.
Finance – Only around a quarter of people making high risk financial investment choices are women.
Judges – In total, fewer than a quarter of judges are female. That figure is worse when it comes to senior judge positions, with 8.3% of people holding the title ‘justice of the supreme court’ being female.
Academia – Just 21% of university professors are women.
TV and film writing – Despite women making breakthroughs in other fields of writing, fewer than a third of TV writers and just 18% of film writers are women.
Digital industries – Pioneering fields that harness the latest technologies are shutting women out – with just 27% of jobs going to them in this sector.
Skilled trades – Just 10% of people employed in skilled trades – such as electricians – are female.
Construction – Women may make up 11% of the workforce in this industry, but when it comes to those who are involved ‘on site’, that falls just just one per cent.