72% of women have suffered harassment at work, according to Aberje survey

72% of women have suffered harassment at work, according to Aberje survey

The research A Mulher na Comunicação – its strength, its challenges, carried out by the Brazilian Association of Business Communication (Aberje), shows salary disparity, female leadership and other aspects in the corporate environment

The most important issue faced by women in the workplace today is the balance between personal and professional life, which also demonstrates the presence of a culture in which women are responsible for managing family matters, according to the survey. Women in Communication – its strength, its challenges, carried out by the Brazilian Association of Business Communication (Aberje).

The survey carried out to understand the challenges of women in the labor market also shows that there is inequality in pay compared to men (34%), and the lack of promotion opportunities (22%) are also seen as important issues faced.

For 50% of respondents, what most prevents women from reaching the top of their careers is associated with the underestimation of their abilities, which makes them not considered for a role/opportunity. In second place, with 47%, the impediment to growth happens when they express their opinions and are judged for it.

“Although women are mostly present in the Corporate Communications market – and we observe this through our network of associates, the research shows that there are still challenges and barriers in the issue of gender equality within organizations, which are a reflection of society itself”, says Hamilton dos Santos, executive director of Aberje.

Examples of this are the loss of their role and/or the reduction of their responsibilities as a result of motherhood (35%), excessively assertive or aggressive labels (33%) and the so-called “Impostor Syndrome” (25%), when a woman believes she is not capable of something and practices self-sabotage.

The main problems faced by the 554 women interviewed who work in the area of ​​communication in different organizations and regions of the country are: the lack of training for women (38%), the low level of promotion of women (37%), the lack of of sorority among women (36%), inequality of treatment between genders (28%), lower wages paid to women (24%) and harassment by co-workers (17%).

Gender equity in companies

Most participants (81%) also believe that having a policy in place contributes to gender equity in the organization. However, only 29% of them know the policies in their companies and adopt formal practices in relation to gender equity.

In addition, the number of men in leadership positions is higher in the majority (61%) of the participants’ current organizations. However, in 32% of organizations, the number of women in leadership positions is already greater than or equal to the number of men. While 18% of respondents say they are not uncomfortable with the comparison, 41% feel uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with this imbalance between men and women in leadership roles.

The initiatives of organizations related to the development of women in leadership they are still modest, since only 24% of the current organizations of the participants have specific programs for this purpose. For the interviewees, the most important competencies/skills to be addressed in female leadership development programs are, in this order: career planning (57%) and work-life balance (46%), image building – personal branding (38%), trust (38%), executive posture (37%) and communication (37%).

When asked in which areas men do not perceive women as effective, participants mostly pointed to problem solving (74%) and focus on results (71%).

The study also points out the barriers and main structural challenges faced by women. According to the responses, 52% believe in men’s propensity to benefit other men in the succession of positions or appointment. In addition, 38% think that the organizational culture still discriminates against the female condition and 36% believe they have difficulty in career development due to the management of professional and family issues.

In almost a quarter (23%) of organizations, the remuneration of women is lower than that of men in the same position, and in a third (33%), women have less opportunity for professional growth than men.


Another point highlighted in the research is the issue of harassment, one of the biggest problems faced by women in the workplace: 72% of respondents, or three out of four, have faced harassment in the workplacein the same way that 77% have already witnessed acts of harassment against other women in the workplace.

The measures that the participants believe to be more effective in combating sexual harassment in the workplace are: stronger punishments for the harasser (55%), implementation of effective mechanisms for dealing with complaints (40%), working more strongly on raising awareness among men (36%) and increase female participation in the organization’s spheres of power (34%). The creation, by the government, of stricter laws to combat sexual harassment (21%) and even raising awareness of women (8%) were also cited as important for this combat to be more effective.

Even so, most believe in organizations, since 52% of participants understand that the most convenient thing in these cases is to access the whistleblowing channel provided.

Strategies and trends for equity

The main changes and/or strategies to be implemented by organizations and which will contribute most to achieving gender equity are: changes in organizational culture (51%), affirmative strategies of equal opportunity between genders (49%), changes in recruitment and selection policies and practices (43%) and increasing the number of women in decision-making roles (40%).

Participants believe that the most effective organizational initiatives to overcome barriers/challenges faced by women in their current organization are: setting and monitoring goals for gender equity (38%), dedicating resources to driving gender equity initiatives (36%) %), intensify the organization’s communication around the commitment to gender equity

(35%) and developing women’s careers (34%).

Access to the best career opportunities in the current organizations of the participants is due to three determining elements: professional experience (56%), individual performance at work (48%) and network of contacts (41%). This access still occurs in 15% of the organizations of the participants due to gender.

Profile of participants

Regarding the personal profile, most of the survey participants (76%) are self-declared white, a number practically maintained in relation to the survey carried out in 2017. Regarding age, 14% preferred not to respond. Of those who responded, the majority, 43%, are members of Generation Y/millennials (ages between 26 and 41). Generation X, aged between 42 and 57 years old, comprises 33% of the participants. Regarding gender identity, the absolute majority (98%) declared themselves to be cisgender, that is, identified with their gender at birth – other answers to the question were non-binary, transgender or did not want to answer.

As for academic training, all participants have higher education, and 3% are still studying for an undergraduate degree. The training course for 52% of the participants is Journalism, for 19% it is Public Relations and for 14% it is Advertising. 64% of them did or are doing a specialization/MBA, 10% a master’s and 4% a doctorate. Communication (40%) and Marketing (26%) are the preferred areas for Graduate Studies.

Most participants (67%) work in private organizations, 41% in national and 26% in multinationals. The companies they work for cover almost all sectors of the economy, especially communication agencies (18%) and the service sector (11%). Most of these companies (51%) are large and have more than 1,000 employees (50%). 52% hold leadership positions in their organizations, with 11% at the board/vice-presidency level, 18% at the management level and 23% at the coordination/supervision level.

The processes most covered by the current positions of the participants are internal communication (71%) and external communication (70%). Other processes are: digital and social media (61%); press relations (60%), events (59%) and crisis and risk management (51%). Among the least covered processes are government relations (13%) and corporate memory (16%).

Source: Exam

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