Women around the world say they are making progress closing the gender gap in the workplace, but the pressure to perform better than their male counterparts remains elevated, particularly among younger female workers, according to a new survey.
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The fifth wave of the “Women, Power & Money” survey by strategic communications firm FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines, researches the lives, lifestyles and marketplace impact of women around the world.
The study compared the differences between three generations of women: Gen Y (ages 21-34), Gen X (ages 35-49) and boomers (ages 50-60), across the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China. The study has been conducted in the U.S. since 2008, but this is the first time it incorporated women from around the globe.
Across all nations, women in Gen Y felt the most pressure to perform and excel in their careers, says Stephen Kraus, senior vice president and chief insights officer of Ipsos MediaCT’s Audience Measurement Group.
The survey finds 70% of Gen Y women describe themselves as “smart”, compared to 64 % of Gen X women—higher than the 54% and 55% of men of the same generations who label themselves smart.
Generation Y women are also more inclined to describe themselves as “stressed” (40%) and “exhausted” (29%).
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“They are describing themselves as smart and knowledgeable, but are also stressed and exhausted,” Kraus says. “Around the world young women have promise, potential and pressure, growing up with a cultural narrative that girls can do anything boys can do.”
Lisa Dimino, senior vice president and senior partner at FleishmanHillard, says despite reporting progress at the office, women also recognize a major pay gap still exists.
“More than 80% of women, and in the U.S. 90% of women, agree that men are often still paid more than women for the same work,” Dimino says. “And more than half agree that men resent those advancements at the same time. It’s interesting to see how far women have come, but there is still that pay barrier.”
The survey also found women globally are relatively satisfied with their lifestyle, families and home lives. However American women in Gen X and Y are less content with these measures compared to female boomers.
“Women around the world are the CEO of their households, and are comfortable with leadership and easing economic anxieties,” Dimino says. “They control the day-to-day purchasing and are equal partners on pay decisions.”
Women around the world are also starting to feel less anxiety regarding their personal finances post-recession, and are shifting their concerns to their future and the future of their children.
“Economic angst is down and there is a shift in priorities,” Kraus says. “A year and a half ago, it was the economy and budget [as top concerns] and now it’s all about their children’s futures, as economy anxiety decreases.”