Some jobs 'still suffering sexism'
Published 03/12/2013 | 10:56
Sexism remains a fact of life in the workplace, with more than a third of people thinking women should not work in certain jobs, a study has found.
A poll of Britons found that 38% of people thought women should not work in jobs including soldiers, mechanics and surgeons.
And their male counterparts do not escape gender sterotypes, with men assumed to make worse nurses and primary school teachers.
According to the survey of 2,000 British adults, carried out by WorldPay Zinc, a new pay-as-you-go mobile payment service that enables card payments on the move, two-thirds of Britons (66%) think men make better plumbers, 68% think they make better mechanics and 63% say they are better electricians.
Just 3% think women are better pilots and only 3% think they make better surgeons.
And according to the poll, women are as guilty of stereotyping their own sex, with just 2% of women saying they are better at technical jobs, compared with 21% who think men are better.
Only 3% of women think they make better taxi drivers, with 35% saying men are better.
At the same time, there is an assumption that men are worse at some traditionally "female" roles, with just 3% of people saying men make better primary school teachers, while 48% say women are better.
Some 64% of Britons say women are better florists, 76% say women are better nannies, and just 3% say men make better nurses.
Charlotte Keene, 25, from Egham, Surrey, who has been a gas engineer for six years and has now started her own company Gas Girl, said: "There has been a lot of gender discrimination in my career so far. Training was tough and people assume I won't be as good as a male engineer.
"I've been so stressed about this at times that I nearly threw the towel in.
"But instead of giving into the stereotypes, I saw a gap in the market - lots of women feel safer letting me into their home than they would a man.
"Now I'm the proud owner of my own company.
"My story goes to show that fighting gender discrimination is well worth it."
The study was carried out on November 4 by research agency Vision Critical which conducted an online survey of 2,026 British adults from consumer panel Springboard UK.
It found that many people said they would not trust a professional because of their gender, with 19% insisting they would not trust a male nanny, 18% would not trust a male beautician and 16% would not trust a man working as a midwife.
Meanwhile, while five out of six Britons would be happy being treated by a male nurse, 11% would feel uncomfortable, 5% would demand to be seen by a female nurse instead, and 17% would be put out if a female mechanic was working on their car at a garage.
Of these, 3% would ask for a man to do the job instead and 2% would simply ask for their keys and leave, the poll found.
Similarly, nearly one in 10 (9%) would not trust a female electrician or pilot and 8% would not trust a female mechanic. And 8% admitted they would be unsettled if they found out they were flying on a plane piloted by a woman, with 3% of these saying they would refuse to board, get off the plane or even make an official complaint.
Geraldine Wilson, managing director of WorldPay Zinc, which commissioned the research to look at how gender bias affects the industries it operates in, said: "We launched WorldPay Zinc to make life easier for mobile tradespeople and small businesses, and we're disappointed to see that their lives may still be blighted by these outdated stereotypes.
"Our service is designed to help businesses of every sector, whether they are run by men or women.
"And while our study suggests there is still a way to go before we are able to achieve equality in the workplace, attitudes are changing for the better.
"While the study shows that some stereotypes are hard to shift, it's great to see these preconceptions being challenged and overcome by shining examples like Gas Girl."