Leadership | Diversity | Inclusion

Barriers to equality of opportunity

In 2013, CEDA surveyed the business community, primarily its members and past Women in Leadership event attendees, to help identify barriers to equality of opportunity.

CEDA's Employment White Paper

Occupational Gender Segregation

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Barriers to women's workplace equality

In CEDA's 2013 Women in Leadership survey, respondents were asked to rank in order of importance the following barriers to women's equality in the workplace. The survey results:

1. Workplace culture

2. Lack of female leaders

3. Gender stereotypes

4. Lack of flexible work practices

5. Affordability and accessibility of childcare

6. Sexism

7. Lack of mentors

8. Societal expectations regarding gender roles (e.g. household work/childcare)

Other barriers identified

As part of the survey, respondents were also given the option of adding any other significant barriers and the following were recurring themes:

  • Entrenched boys' club, the all-male work environment and macho behaviour;
  • Workplace design including the one-income earner household model and logistics of school and work hours;
  • The confusion between presenteeism and commitment, the association of flexible work with lack of commitment, and the lack of career advancement for part-time employees;
  • The difficulty in juggling work and personal life, particularly caring responsibilities for children and aged parents;
  • The lack of support among women, women's lack of self-confidence and lack of sponsorship for women in workplaces;
  • Lack of commitment from leaders and executive teams towards gender diversity; and
  • Unconscious bias.

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What would contribute most to improving women's equality in the workforce?

As part of the survey, participants also supplied their personal experiences of gender issues in the workplace.