Millennial women more upbeat about their future in the workplace
LONDONOct 14, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Oct 14, 2015 12:00 am
Fahda Bandar, a 32-year-old female executive at a communications company in Saudi Arabia's city of Al Khobar, spends most of her time in male-dominated meetings. She sits around tables at business meetings filled with men, travels throughout Gulf countries to members clubs to meet company guests who are nearly always male, and is one of two women in her 15-person corporate management team. Still, in G20 countries including Saudi Arabia, women of Bandar's generation are more upbeat than older women about their prospects in the workplace, according to a poll yesterday by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation. "When I call a head of a company as a woman .. they do answer respectfully and accept opinion and suggestions," said Bandar, who fits the general definition of a millennial, born in the 1980s or 1990s and now in the 18-34 age group. But she said women have to work harder than men to prove their worth. "I think that we have something to prove in a male-dominated country," said Bandar.
The survey of more than 9,500 women in the G20 economies by polling firm Ipsos MORI found that millennial women share a distinctly more hopeful view about the workplace. It found 43 percent of women from the millennial generation are confident they earn the same salary as a man doing the same job compared with 34 percent of women aged 50 to 64. A similar proportion of millennial women, or 42 percent, feel they have access to the same types of business networks as men compared to 33 percent of older women. As to job access, millennial women also had a rosier view than their older counterparts. The survey found just 45 percent think men have better options, compared with 50 percent for the 50 to 64 age group.
Millennials were more optimistic about professional development and career growth opportunities. The poll showed 45 percent again think men fare better, compared with 50 percent of women aged 35 to 49.
They are also more confident about going it alone with 40 percent saying it was easy for them to start a business as a man compared to 33 percent of older women. Francoise Jacobsohn of the Equal Rights Advocates said such optimism is not misplaced as women have been making strides in recent decades. Young women are often resourceful and knowledgeable about their legal rights, said Jacobsohn. But she warned such progress may be the result of more women getting higher education than systemic changes in the power relations between men and women in the workplace.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University