Women in Wholesale: Gender discrimination drops but lack of respect still a challenge

(Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)


Wholesale is shaping up to be a great place to work but a lack of respect for women is still a key challenge, says recent research by Lumina Intelligence, which states that more than half of women agree that their company is doing enough to achieve gender equality though women continue to face the same personal challenges as they did last year.

As per research findings by the annual study commissioned by Women in Wholesale, key improvement in the sector is the drop in gender discrimination in the workplace, with just 36 per cent of women claiming to have experienced issues as compared to 57 per cent from 2019.

More than half of respondents (54 per cent) agree that their company is doing enough to achieve gender balance at the top – painting a positive picture for the diversity agenda, says the report.

However, women are still facing some of the same personal challenges as in previous years. When asked about barriers to progress, 28 per cent of respondents cited “lack of respect” as the biggest challenge for women working in the sector, with no improvements since 2019, followed by lack of opportunities (20 per cent).

About 75 per cent of respondents said they were offered more flexibility in terms of working hours during Covid while 78 per cent felt they had more flexibility with location – much of this will continue into the longer term, said the report.

“Overall, it’s a really positive picture for careers in our sector,” said WiW Founder, Elit Rowland. “The majority of businesses are offering flexible and remote working, and mental health support. But the issue of respect for women and career progress cannot be ignored and will play an important role in our agenda moving forward,” she added.

Meanwhile, wellbeing support in the sector is also looking positive as 44 per cent of companies now have mental health first aid and about a third offer meditation or mindfulness seminars.

Jill Livesey, Managing Director Lumina Intelligence said that the study reveals continued progress in gender discrimination and a positive response to improvements in diversity.

“WiW has clearly been a driving force for change and providing support. It was encouraging to see more flexible support continuing for employees who are carers and have children,” Livesey said.