HONG KONG: People working in the media and marketing industries in Asia-Pacific appear to show greater awareness of gender inequality issues than last year, but there is still much work to do, according to a new study.
Campaign Asia-Pacific and Kantar, the research and insights consultancy, launched their inaugural gender equality survey in 2017, which unearthed some unsettling findings, and have now followed it up with a new survey to see what progress, if any, has been made.
Based on interviews with 300 industry practitioners, both agency and non-agency, the regional poll found that awareness of unconscious bias is higher this year, but this has not translated into behavioural change.
For example, a higher proportion of both men and women now notice disparity, such as men getting more respect than women in the workplace – this rose from 28% in 2017 to 37% overall in 2018 – yet a third of women still attend meetings that are dominated by male colleagues.
Encouragingly, the number of men and women who said they want to see their organisation doing “much more” to drive gender parity increased since last year – by 7% for women and 12% for men.
There was also good news with the finding that the number of people who said they were unaware of what unconsicous bias training was has halved since 2017, from 32% to 14%.
Yet half of both men and women said they feel pressure to conform to gender stereotypes at work, and this sentiment was significantly more pronounced (76%) among those who felt that their companies didn’t treat men and women equally overall compared to companies that cultivated an environment of equality.
Alarmingly, the survey also revealed that nearly half (48%) of women and 26% of men have personally experienced verbal or physical harassment, while 40% of women and 18% of men said they have observed it happening to others.
A fifth (20%) of women reported that they have experienced “unwelcomed physical contact”, but just 14% of all respondents said they had reported any instance of harassment to their employer.
“The most commonly experienced form of harassment was degrading comments or sexual innuendo, with particularly high levels in countries with a more masculine office culture such as in Australia and New Zealand,” said Anne Rayner, chief solutions officer at Kantar’s insights division.
“In terms of the changes people believe will make a difference, men want to see more unconscious bias training and flexible working,” she added.
“Women want a broader range of changes – pay parity was top of the list, however the results call for a whole package of improvements, from flexible working to development opportunities.”
Sourced from Campaign Asia, Kantar; additional content by WARC staff