More women 'feel gender not an issue at workplace'
Dubai, August 13, 2008
About 51 per cent of women in Middle East workplace feel gender will not adversely impact their chances of being promoted, according to a survey.
The Bayt.com and YouGovSiraj study found that 60 per cent of women employees in the Middle East feel that they are treated fairly as compared to their male counterparts. A further 7 per cent of women reported receiving preferential treatment vis-à-vis male colleagues while 23 per cent reported male colleagues received preferential treatment.
About 43 per cent of respondents felt that their gender had not affected their career prospects, with a further 22 per cent being polarised in their opinion of whether gender had had a positive or negative impact on their career.
The Women in the Workplace survey is a measure of women’s perceptions, attitudes, experiences and satisfaction of various elements of their role in the workplace, especially in regard to their treatment and salaries received compared to their male counterparts.
The survey revealed that there was frequent disparity among nationalities with respect to their feelings about their promotion in the workplace. Although 41 per cent of women felt they had a lower chance of being promoted than their male colleagues, this was most pronounced amongst GCC nationals, with half believing they stood a lower chance, closely followed by 47 per cent of Asians. By contrast, 44 per cent of Western women, almost double the average (27 per cent), felt that their promotion chances were equal to their male equivalents.
“The opinions of female employees towards their work and their treatment in the workplace are hugely authoritative tools for revealing the true nature of the business environment from a woman’s perspective in the Middle East today. In tracking and monitoring this data, organisations and businesses across the entire region can benefit from the findings, allowing them to adjust, or develop new sets of measures or behaviours for promoting crucial gender equality,” said Bayt.com’s CEO, Rabea Ataya.
One way that female workers’ feelings about gender equality were measured, was in terms of their financial remuneration and their level of reward and benefits. Almost half of all women surveyed - 46 per cent - feel that they receive less pay than their male counterparts, with Asian nationals most likely to feel this was the case at 58 per cent of Asian respondents. Equality in terms of remuneration also differed by job sector, with majority of female government and semi-government employees seeming to be more equally paid than others. Together, almost half this group felt women receive a salary equal to that of male colleagues, compared with 34 per cent of women working for locally owned companies.
In terms of satisfaction with regards to the level of work recognition they receive, only 24 per cent of respondents indicated high levels of satisfaction with 28 per cent indicating they were dissatisfied. GCC nationals were the most dissatisfied, with 38 per cent citing satisfaction as low.
This should be viewed in conjunction with the fact that slightly over half the respondents felt that appreciation is based on performance alone and not on gender. Only 15 per cent of respondents felt that male employees are better appreciated than female employees. A quarter of the respondents though reported that appreciation was completely non-existent – an astonishing finding in itself.
Despite 62 per cent of women believing that employers should provide preferential treatment or special benefits to them because they are responsible for the wellbeing of the family, 63 per cent said that they do not receive any special benefits on account of their gender. Amongst the nationalities, Asian women felt most strongly (71 per cent) that they should receive special benefits, compared to only 48 per cent of Westerners who felt that allowances should be m