Women are suffering greater inequality and disadvantages in nearly all aspects of working life, international research has shown.
Researchers said that the results disprove the theory that women have voluntarily traded less high-powered jobs in order to have more flexibility for their responsibilities at home.
Women are lagging behind in many aspects of employment
In a paper in the journal entitled ‘Work, Employment and Society’, professor Haya Stier of Tel Aviv University and professor Meir Yaish from the University of Haifa analysed survey data on the working lives of 8,500 men and 9,000 women across 27 industrialised countries, including the UK. They examined how respondents answered questions about their jobs and found that the answers given disproved commonly held beliefs about women in the workplace.
Women lag behind men on most employment dimensions: their jobs offer lower salaries and fewer opportunities for advancement, but also lower job security, worse job content, less time autonomy and worse emotional conditions, the research found.
As Stier and Yaish expected, men gave answers on questions about income and opportunities for promotion that were on average 8% higher than women’s. They also gave answers that were 2% higher than women’s when asked about how independently they could work, how interesting they found their work, and how much scope for developing skills they had.
However the researchers also found that the results "disproved the theory that women’s occupations compensate for their low wages and limited opportunities for promotion by providing better employment conditions".
When asked about how stressful and exhausting their work was, men gave answers that were 5% lower than women’s. On the subject of time autonomy, including having control over when one starts and ends work, men’s answers were 15% higher than women’s.
Tony Trueman from the British Sociological Association told the Huffington Post UK: "It’s been commonly thought that women take jobs with lower pay and fewer prospects in order to benefit from having more flexibility, so that they have more time to spend at home with their children. This research has proven that women also have less flexibility in the workplace in comparison to men."
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, was "not surprised" with the finding. She told HuffPostUK: "These findings will come as no surprise to the millions of working women in the UK involved in the daily juggle between the competing demands of work and caring.
"There are still very few men who give up work or reduce their hours to look after their families," she added.