Sexism still 'a fact of life' in the workplace, new figures suggest

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A new study by WorldPay Zinc shows that sexism is still prevalent in the workplace - with Brits believing women are less capable at a whole raft of professions.

More than a third (38%) of the 2000 respondents think women should not work in a range of jobs; including soldier, mechanic and surgeon. Men are also victims of gender stereotyping, with males assumed to make worse nurses and primary school teachers.

On the other hand, men are presumed to make far better plumbers, mechanics, electricians, surgeons, drivers and chefs.

Sexism is such that many say they wouldn't trust a professional because of their gender, with one in five (19%) insisting they wouldn't trust a male nanny, 18% wouldn't trust a male beautician and 16% wouldn't trust a man working as a midwife.

Meanwhile, while five out of six Brits 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.

Similarly, one in 10 (9%) wouldn't trust a female electrician or pilot and 8% wouldn't trust a female mechanic. Indeed, 8% admit they would be unsettled if they found out they were flying on a plane piloted by a woman. Of these, 3% would actually refuse to board, get off the plane or even make an official complaint.

Geraldine Wilson, Managing Director, WorldPay Zinc, 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mobile tradespeople and small businesses, and we’re disappointed to see that their lives may still be blighted by these outdated stereotypes.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.”

Charlotte Keene is an engineer at, she said: “There has been a lot of gender discrimination in my career so far, training was tough and people assume I wont 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, Gas Girl.

“My story goes to show that fighting gender discrimination is well worth it. It’s great that there are services out there like Worldpay Zinc, which help people like me go at it alone and run a successful business, regardless of whether you’re a man or a women.”

An overwhelming 66% of Brits 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 are better surgeons.

Interestingly women are as guilty as men of assuming they are worse at certain jobs, with a mere 2% of women saying they are better at technical jobs (compared to 21% who think men are better).

Only 3% of women think they make better taxi drivers, with 35 per cent saying men are better. There is also a natural presumption that men are worse at certain traditionally 'female' roles.

Just 3% think men make better primary school teachers, while 48 per cent say women are better. 64% of Brits say women are better florists, 76% say women are better nannies, and just 3% say men make better nurses.

Interestingly, when it comes to actually paying for services, men feel safer giving their credit card to a woman, whereas women are less likely to discriminate on grounds of gender, saying they don’t mind either way.

The new Attitudes in the Workplace study was carried out by WorldPay Zinc, a new pay as you go mobile payment service that enables card payments on the move. The company commissioned the study to look at how gender bias affects the industries it operates in.

The full results of the survey can be found here.

A visual representation of the survey data can be found here


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Notes to editor:

About WorldPay Zinc

WorldPay is a leading global supplier of payment processing services, processing millions of transactions every day. WorldPay Zinc is a pay as you go acceptance service designed specifically for sole traders and small businesses with between one and five employees. It’s a low-cost, low-commitment way to accept card payments. The payments terminal is available to buy online and in John Lewis stores for as little as £59.99 (including VAT). The pay as you go pricing plan means users only pay for the transactions they make, but there are several options to suit different needs and use cases.

The research was carried out by Vision Critical who conducted an online survey among 2,026 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The research was conducted on 4 November 2013.