For Better (or Worse): How Men and Women View the Progress of Gender Equity Differently

November 4, 2019

Caroline Dettman

Caroline Dettman is a founding partner of Have Her Back Consulting, a female-owned business helping companies tackle gender equity differently. By turning good intentions to intentional actions, Dettman leverages her craft as an award-winning creative leader to drive business outcomes and impact for all.

On November 7th & 8th, the inspired 3% Conference will gather for its 8th annual conference in Chicago. This year the purposeful theme is: “The 29%” - the goal for the number of men in attendance as well as a clever flip on how many female creatives are typically represented in creative departments.  

I do believe we will see many men attend. They represent the men who want to help bring about change in the advertising industry and the ones who are already making good changes happen. They can’t possibly reflect, however, the views of all men and their views on gender equity. Just like the women in attendance can’t possibly reflect the views of all women.

We must understand the general sentiment about gender equity in the workplace among the sexes, because to work together on solutions, we need to know what we are up against and equally what we can build upon. So recently, Have Her Back Consulting surveyed 1000 women and men about their workplaces and gender equity. Here are three key takeaways:

Men believe gender equity is progressing faster in the workplace than women do: 

  • More men than women felt the #MeToo movement has been successful in bringing positive change for women in the workplace (27% to 22%).
  • When asked about their company's efforts to advance women in the past two years, 25% of men rate it "much better" -- but only 16% of women do.
  • While 63% of women say "More is needed" to advance women in the workplace, only 47% of men feel the same way.

Men think they are supporting women more at work. Women disagree. 

  • Since #MeToo, almost half (49%) of men say that men support women more at work. 53% of women say there has been no change in the way men support women at work. 
  • When it comes specifically to “executive support of women,” 12% of men and 6% of women say this has increased in the wake of #MeToo.

Both men and women agree that we need to advance women in the workplace and have a sense of urgency about solving this issue. 

  • More than half (55%) of respondents feel that more is needed to advance women in the workplace.
  • 31% of women and 41% of men believe that business will resolve gender equity in the next five years.
  • While 29% of women think gender equity will never be solved, only 21% of men don’t think it is solvable.  

You can look at these statistics and be frustrated. I look at them and see hope. While there will be many allies amongst us at the 3% Conference, clearly this shows there are many allies amongst us at our workplaces, too. They might think things are progressing faster than women do, but the desire to solve gender equity is shared. This knowledge is powerful  because we can build on this. We can help one another understand what’s behind these survey statistics...and use that knowledge to propel gender equity forward, together.  

I will leave you with a few interesting stats  62% of women say they would be less likely to recommend a brand if they found out that the company wasn't treating female employees equitably. 40% of men would also be less likely to recommend that company. If we unite around gender equity, we have a profound collective power that will be hard to ignore. We could dwell on the worst stat of the survey, that 20 percent of respondents actually said they would be more likely to recommend a company that wasn’t treating its female employees equitably. But let’s not waste our energy...because as these statistics show, it’s us and our allies who have the strength in numbers.  

United, we can and will have her back. See you on November 7th, for better.