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1 in 5 Women Say they Fear Being Patronised at Work, research reveals.

The recent media attention around the case of Charlotte Proudman, the human rights lawyer who outed a fellow lawyer for an inappropriate message on LinkedIn has added new impetus to research conducted by Stormline earlier this Summer, which revealed that women are put off certain industries because they expect to be patronised by male colleagues.

Whether or not their expectations are legitimate, it’s clear that concerns about work environment are creating a barrier to participation in certain industries.

Research from Stormline reveals what puts women off so-called ‘manly’ industries

  • 1 in 5 women expect to encounter patronising colleagues in male-dominated industries

  • Women perceive aviation and medicine as industries most likely to have patronising male colleagues.

  • “Women have to work harder than men to gain respect” says top female engineer

A poll* of over 1,000 women has found that it is the work environment – not the work itself – that has the biggest influence the attractiveness of a job. Pay levels, wording on job adverts and being asked to carry out boring work were found to be less off-putting.

A February 2015 poll** of 1,073 people conducted by Stormline identified the ten industries perceived as most ‘manly’ among UK adults (see table below). A separate poll of 1,019 women conducted in April 2015 measured attitudes towards jobs in those industries by asking participants to identify the most off-putting characteristic of each industry.

Most off-putting characteristics of top ten so-called manliest industries (overall)

 

  1. Macho atmosphere

  2. Safety

  3. Patronising male colleagues

  4. Unpleasant working conditions

  5. Low pay

  6. Boring work

  7. Unattractive wording on adverts

 

 

Top Ten ‘Manly’** industries and their most unattractive characteristics

 

Industry

Most off-putting characteristic

Second most off-putting characteristic

Third most off-putting characteristic

Marine and fishing

Safety

Macho environment

Unpleasant working conditions

Military and defence

Safety

Macho environment

Unpleasant working conditions

Construction

Macho environment

Safety

Fear of being patronised

Conservation

Unpleasant working conditions

Boredom

Wording on adverts

Intelligence

Safety

Fear of being patronised

Unpleasant working conditions

Security

Macho environment

Safety

Low pay

Aviation

Fear of being patronised

Macho environment

Safety

Agriculture

Unpleasant working conditions

Safety

Low pay

Brewing

Macho environment

Unpleasant working conditions

Fear of being patronised

Medicine

Fear of being patronised

Unpleasant working conditions

Macho environment

Genevieve Kurilec is a commercial fishing captain and runs the Chix Who Fish Facebook group and website. She believes women are a balancing presence in dangerous, macho environments. “In my experience women tend to be more safety conscious and detail oriented, which makes us an excellent asset to any crew working in a dangerous occupation.

 

“There will always be men in society who are patronizing towards women. The camaraderie found in the majority of the commercial fishing industry far outweighs the petty few who do not recognise the capabilities of women employed in marine occupations. If you do your job, put in your time and take care of your vessel you will earn the respect of your fellow fishermen, gender notwithstanding.”

 

Caroline Livesey is a geotechnical design consultant and often works on engineering projects in male-dominated environments. She believes attitudes to women’s work in general create barriers to participation in the workplace.

“I think societal bias tends to pigeonhole women and men into specific roles. The knock on impact of this is that both genders are inclined to assume women cannot make good engineers as it is not a role that we naturally see them in.

 

“The downside of this is that women continue to have to break down those barriers in order to progress in this industry. On a day-to-day basis for females in civil engineering is that they have to work far harder than their male counterparts to earn respect, to progress, and to be trusted technically.”

 

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