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Gender equality in workplace may take ‘three generations’

Gender equality is moving at a glacial pace, according to a university study. SRF-SWI

Women may have to wait more than 50 years to get equal access to top management posts, according to a Swiss university report.

This content was published on September 14, 2021 - 19:04
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The Gender Intelligence ReportExternal link from the University of St Gallen found that 17% of top management posts are held by women and 23% of middle management positions. Researchers analysed 320,000 employees in 90 Swiss companies.

“If we continue at the current rate, gender parity might become a reality two to three generations from now. Can we really afford to wait until 2078 and lose out on the tens of thousands of highly qualified women that get sieved out?,” the report asks.

Not only are women winning fewer promotions at higher levels of management but they also have a higher turnover rate within firms than male counterparts.

This is despite recent legislation stipulating gender quotas for boards and executive positions at the biggest Swiss companies and requiring big companies to publish gender pay reports.

One of the biggest factors of gender discrimination is the decision of women to start families.

"We can see that the proportion of women in the lowest management levels has increased in recent years, but there is simply not much going on at the top," report leader Ines Hartmann told Swiss public broadcaster SRF.

“First of all, it is assumed that women will have children at some point. This partially prevents employment in higher positions.”

Hartmann urged companies to open up career paths for women by recognizing that “parenting is a normal part of a career - for women as well as men."

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