Sexism in the Workplace for Murray Edwards Alumnae

It’s lnternational Women’s Day today, but Murray Edwards alumnae are still finding their careers held back by sexism.

barbara stocking cusu women's campaign medwards murray edwards college sexism

In a survey commissioned by Murray Edwards, a work culture hostile to women is reported as the biggest career obstacle for the college’s alumnae. The “Women Today, Women Tomorrow” study was carried out to mark the college’s 60th anniversary, and 954 Murray Edwards alumnae ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s provided answers.

Stormy times ahead for Medwards graduates?

38% of graduates claimed that “non-supportive and difficult colleagues and managers, bias, bullying and undervalued work” were the most challenging barriers they faced career-wise. This outnumbered the 25% who cited the struggle to maintain a work-life balance and childcare as the largest factor holding them back. Many respondents also said that they felt pressure to over-perform as a result of their gender.

I need feminism

Vera, a second year historian, was unsurprised at the feedback:

“That kind of environment is very different from what I’m used to, but I know that this college gives you an unusual experience of work. My friends at other colleges encounter a lot of casual sexism, and it’s hardly surprising that this continues after university.”

Dame Barbara Stocking, president of Murray Edwards, said “women want to have their voices heard, to be respected and to progress based on merit.

“To achieve this requires a substantial transformation in the culture of the workplace. It is not just that progress may be based on many subtle factors other than merit; it is also that the skills that these highly capable and well-educated women bring are often not recognised.”

Stocking will be hosting two seminar events for current Medwards students to increase confidence and leadership skills as part of the 60th anniversary events, perhaps especially important as the report concluded that “being a female at work is still a hurdle to be overcome.”