The Sunday Telegraph

Female staff ‘conditione­d’ to feel less entitled than men

- By Camilla Tominey ASSOCIATE EDITOR

WOMEN are paid less and fail to progress in their careers because they have been “socially conditione­d” to feel less entitled than men, a report has found.

The study, published in the run-up to Internatio­nal Women’s Day on March 8, has uncovered a deep-rooted “unentitled mindset” which is driving persistent inequaliti­es in gender pay and female career progressio­n.

Published by educationa­l charity The Female Lead, the report found current workplace initiative­s had limited effects because they were based in part on outdated presumptio­ns about what women wanted. Citing the perception that motherhood shifts a woman’s profession­al identity to the backseat, the report reveals that women suffer from “persistent bias” when returning from maternity leave, and are “penalised” for trying to fit work around family life.

The research, led by Dr Terri Apter, Cambridge University psychologi­st, also found that women adversely suffered from the “mental load” of having to juggle work with the complex daily organisati­on of caring and household responsibi­lities.

Although the study began before the Covid outbreak, the authors suggested it should be a “catalyst for change”, with remote working having been “normalised” and the myth “busted” that people who worked flexibly were less efficient.

Dr Apter said: “A crucial aspect of the ‘unentitled mindset’ is that it is not just something that impacts women in their work. When we looked closer at the concept, we found it at the root of many troubles throughout women’s lives and a vital part of what keeps women in a less privileged position in society.”

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