Business Women Feel They Are ‘A Fraud’

09 Mar 2020 | 04.37 pm

Business Women Feel They Are ‘A Fraud’

Duff & Phelps survey finds that inequality causes ‘imposter syndrome’

09 Mar 2020 | 04.37 pm

More than four-fifths of business women end up feeling that they are “a fraud” after experiencing gender inequality in the workplace, according to a report from Duff & Phelps.

The survey found that while 78% of women said equal opportunities in the workplace had improved in the last five years, almost 60% said their career had been affected by gender inequality. 

Of those, 65% said that they had received a lower salary than a male counterpart, while 57% attested to being interrupted while speaking in a group situation or being excluded from social gatherings.  

More than 93% said that the next government would achieve greater equality in society by implementing policies to improve childcare and paternity leave.   

And, in the context of recent focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, 46% of those surveyed responded that they felt workplace relations between men and women were clearer in recent years.

But a significant issue for most women is “imposter syndrome”, which is typically defined as feelings of being a fraud. Around 82% of the women surveyed said they were negatively affected by the phenomenon — more than four-fifths.

Ireland managing director Anne O’Dwyer (pictured) said: “It’s positive that many working women are so upbeat about workplace relations, and that traditionally male domains such as financial services are beginning to see lots of women at the top of their game.  

“But it’s also good to remember that there is still lots to be done, not just at government and corporate levels, but by men and women themselves in the workplace, in terms of hearing each other and supporting each other. It’s important for companies to make sure that they are leaving space for women and men to work together in the best possible environment they can create.”

Imposter syndrome is a problem because it inhibits women and can affect mental health. Of the 82% who had experienced it, 69% of felt it prevented them from speaking up about ideas in the workplace, 65% felt it had prevented them asking for a pay rise, while 54% said it stopped them from asking for a promotion. 

Additionally, 49% of businesswomen surveyed by Duff & Phelps felt that imposter syndrome had stopped them from stepping up on projects or tasks that would allow them to shine.

Duff & Phelps is a global business advisor that created the Network of Women (NOW), a company organisation that supports and promotes diversity, both internally and externally, by promoting opportunities for women’s professional success in the finance industry.

 

Pic: Robbie Reynolds

 

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