The study, which surveyed over 1,000 employees and business owners of both genders, found that 52 percent of women say they have experienced gender discrimination in a professional setting compared to just 9 percent of men.
The study also revealed that women face bigger hurdles mid-career than men when it comes to raising families. According to the survey, 43 percent of women have taken time off from their careers to care for children, compared to just 15 percent of men.
“The age where most men and women reach the peak of their careers and move towards senior and executive level positions also happens to coincide with the most common time to start a family,” said Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software, a company that offers extensive benefits for working parents. “If women are over twice as likely to leave their careers at this time to raise families, it puts them at a huge disadvantage.”
While gender discrimination is still an issue in many workplaces, a majority of survey respondents said they would be open to improved workplace norms and policies to help working parents continue their careers while raising children. Fifty-seven percent of women CEOs said they would consider allowing parents to bring their children to the office occasionally, and 54 percent of men CEOs said the same. Similarly, over a third of employees, both male and female, said they would take advantage of such a policy.
“Today, less than 20 percent of corporate leadership roles are held by women, and this will not change unless corporate norms change first,” said Parsons. “Flexible working environments and policies that allow women to succeed and enjoy their careers while still being a parent are needed to level the playing field.”
Palo Alto Software is at the leading edge of family-friendly work environments. The company offers flexible hours, work from home policies, extensive maternity and paternity leave and allows parents to bring their children into the office when appropriate. The company currently employs more women than the average tech company and has a low employee turnover rate.
“Because of Palo Alto Software’s policies I was able to bring my newborn to work with me for the first several months of her life,” said Lara Fields, product architect at Palo Alto Software. “As a working mother, I couldn’t afford to take much time off of work, but I also didn’t like the idea of leaving my newborn with someone else at such a young age. This opportunity truly allowed me to continue to support my family, and be the best parent I could be without sacrificing my career.”
Other notable survey results include:
36% of men say having children has had no impact on their careers, compared to 19% of women
11% of men say they make less money than they believe they would without children, compared to 27% of women