Fifteen percent of U.S. working women say they have at some point felt passed over for a promotion or opportunity at work because of their gender, while 85 percent say they have never felt that way. These perceptions are similar by age, educational attainment, and employment in a professional or non-professional job.
Republican women and conservative women are slightly less likely than all other groups of women to feel they have been passed over for a promotion due to their gender. They are also less likely to have felt gender discrimination in obtaining raises. Liberal women are the only group to perceive more gender discrimination in both promotions and raises than their demographic or socioeconomic counterparts. Together, these findings reveal that there may be some political or ideological issues at play in perceptions of gender fairness in the workplace.
Thirteen percent of U.S. working women say they feel they have been denied a raise due to their gender. But again, the vast majority of working women do not see this as an issue.
These data, from Gallup’s annual Work and Education survey, conducted August 7-11, 2013, highlight workplace gender issues that have been feverishly debated recently – especially in the media. However, the data reveal that most women do not perceive that they have been a victim of gender bias at work when it comes to promotions and raises in particular.
When Gallup asked working men the same questions, they were much less likely to say they felt they were denied a promotion or raise because of their gender. Eight percent of working men feel their gender has prevented them from getting a promotion and 4 percent believe they have been denied a raise for the same reason. Thus, this phenomenon is something that disproportionately affects women.
All told, 11 percent of all U.S. workers feel they were passed over for a promotion and 8 percent denied a raise because of their gender.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead ignited a national conversation this year about how women do and should handle themselves in the workplace – and the role societal norms play. In her book, she shares insights into why women aren’t getting raises and promotions, and advice on how they can achieve their career goals. Women – and men – have reacted both negatively and positively to Sandberg’s manifesto.
More fervor has erupted over the recent New York Times piece on the “opt-out generation” of women – professionally successful women who chose to leave the workplace in the early 2000s to be home with their children. The author opined on the apparent consequences these women are now facing as they re-enter the workforce – such as lower salaries and lesser positions.
As the media and Americans in general continue to debate the topic of women in the workplace, Gallup’s data show that some women do feel they are facing unfair treatment in the workplace because of their gender, and that gender bias at work, though relatively uncommon in an absolute sense, is more likely to negatively affect working women than working men.