It’s our time to have equal wages and equal rights for the women of America.” – Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette’s passionate acceptance speech at the 2015 Academy Awards ignited conversations in every home, cubicle and office around the world. Yours truly was in the mix, bouncing between phone calls, texts and DMs on Twitter. But what I wanted most to add to the conversation were the results of the latest wave of research from Citi and LinkedIn that explored this very topic. But, the results were still under wraps – until today. And, coincidentally, on the heels of a new report from the United Nation’s International Labor Organization (ILO) on the likely persistence of the gender pay gap for another 70 years. So let’s talk!
First, let me give you some context. Since 2012, Citi and LinkedIn have been releasing a series of national surveys to explore women’s professional and aspirations and concerns. We’ve explored a range of topics, from “having it all” to how to break down career roadblocks. In doing so, we’ve talked to women and men across the U.S. – but for this latest wave of research, we took our survey global, including women from Colombia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Oh, and we decided to ditch the guys for this round.
What did we hear? According to the survey, which you can read about here, the majority of women surveyed are optimistic that they are on their way to equal footing in the workplace. Millennial women have the brightest outlook: Whether it’s due to reforms that have been implemented, or their inexperience with workplace inequality, younger women (under age 34) tend to be most optimistic. Women in the U.S., on the other hand, are the least optimistic about the progress being made to close the gender wage gap.
Beyond eliminating the gender wage gap, women cited the number of female leaders and flexible work policies as the other most significant indicators of progress. At a country level, women in Colombia and Mexico placed a premium on flexible work environments, while women in Hong Kong and Singapore valued having women in leadership roles most. In the US, eliminating the wage gap reigned supreme, while women in the UK saw progress as ending the need for the “women in the workplace” conversation.
The survey also revealed some significant generational differences in the way that women are defining gender progress. Across the globe, younger women (ages 22-44) generally called for more flexible work environments, while the end of the need for the “women in the workplace” conversation was the most relevant indicator to women over 55.
Other good news coming out of the survey: while only a small percentage of women feel they currently “have it all,” the overwhelming majority view “having it all” as an attainable goal. And, women continue to lean in with confidence, looking for ways to advance their skills and rise within their organizations.
This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Linda Descano is Managing Director and Head of Content and Social at Citi.
Image: An office worker is reflected on the roof of a building. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz.