Many managers witness to discrimination or bias in past year

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A staggering 81% of managers have witnessed some form of gender discrimination or bias in their workplace in the past 12 months, according to research from the CMI (Chartered Management Institute).

The survey found that inappropriate remarks, gender bias in recruitment and promotion decisions, and gender inequality in pay and rewards are still proving major barriers to gender equality in many organisations.

In the past 12 months, half (50%) of managers have seen gender bias in recruitment or promotion decisions, while 42% said they had seen inequality in pay and rewards.

Four in five (81%) of managers also said they had witnessed inappropriate remarks, such as comments with sexual overtones.

There is positive appetite for change, however, with the majority (84%) of male managers supporting a gender-balanced workplace, and three quarters (75%) saying men in senior leadership roles have a responsibility to support the career development of women.

Minister for Women, Equalities and Early Years, Caroline Dinenage said: “Gender discrimination is completely unacceptable - women should never be held back just because of their gender. Shining a light on this issue is absolutely key to achieving equality in the workplace, which is why we are introducing requirements on all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data from April.

But equality is everyone’s business – and it benefits both men and women alike. Men have an important role to play in championing gender equality and this initiative will encourage even more men to actively drive this issue so that all employees can reach their full potential.‎”

Ann Francke, CEO at CMI, added: “Achieving a better gender balance is essential to boosting the UK’s productivity, which lags far behind our G7 competitors. If we’re to meet this ambitious target, then managers at all levels must call out behaviour that discriminates against women and encourage equality within their workplace.

Of course, there are many things that managers, and particularly men in senior roles, can do. There are the big things like championing better flexible working arrangements and sponsoring and mentoring women. But there are the everyday things, like giving everyone an equal chance to be heard in meetings, and to cut out the ‘locker room’ banter that is holding us all back.”