Sexism is alive and well, according to this UN report

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Is everyone sexist? Sure looks like it, according to a new study.

Despite global campaigns and the rise of women around the world, a new United Nations report found that sexism is alive and well, with nearly 90% of men and women hold some form of bias against women and no country in the world sporting gender equality. The report surveyed respondents from 75 countries to take a closer look at gender inequality via seven different measures.

The responses were measured across the following fields — political, educational, economic, and physical integrity. Respondents were asked to rate how they felt about each category.

Here’s a rundown on what was asked:

  • Men make better political leaders than women do.
  • Women have the same rights as men.
  • University is more important for a man than a woman.
  • Men should have more right to a job than women.
  • Men make better business executives than women do.
  • Proxy for intimate partner violence.
  • Proxy for reproductive rights.

At least 91% of men and 86% of women showed at least one clear bias against gender equality in areas of politics, economic, education, intimate partner violence, and women’s reproductive rights, according to the report.

In politics, 50% percent of men and women said they feel men make better political leaders than women. In the US, which has yet to elect a female president, around 39% of people agreed men made better leaders.

At work, more than 40% of respondents felt that men made better business executives, while nearly 30% of respondents agreed it was acceptable for a man to beat his partner, the report said.

Unsurprisingly, women were less biased against gender equality and women’s empowerment compared to men. Fifty-two percent of male respondents had two to four gender social norm biases, according to the report. However, more than 50% of women are biased in the political sector.

Male bias was 63% in both the political and economic fields.

One of the troubling findings from the study was how sexual bias is actually worsening. For men, some bias against women grew from 83.4% between 2004 and 2009 to 84.6% between 2010 and 2014, which was a change in about 1.2%. There was also growth among women over the same period (83.4% to 84.6%).

From a global perspective, bias against women has grown the most in Sweden. India showed the next most followed by South Africa, Romania, and Georgia.

“Despite remarkable progress in some areas, no country in the world—rich or poor—has achieved gender equality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, in education, at home and in the labour market—with negative repercussions for their freedoms,” the UN said in the report.

Other bias in the workplace

While businesses have made strides to level the playing field, there’s still much room for improvement in terms of gender bias.

A study published in 2019 found that women were 30% less likely to be called in for an interview than men. For female bosses, they face more discrimination from employees of any gender.

A more recent study found that two in five female managers are subjected to sexism today, where nearly half of female managers surveyed said they believe their workplace is sexist, which leaves them feeling left out of opportunities to progress.

“Unsurprisingly, women managers are more aware of it than men – no doubt because they too experience discrimination,” Joe Levenson, Young Women’s Trust campaign director, said in that study. “Employers must root out sexism in their organizations and give women an equal chance to succeed. It can be particularly tough in male-dominated workplaces, where employers should help to bring more women in and change the culture through training days, mentoring and even targets.”