International Women’s Day 2018 Survey

On this International Women’s Day, how does Ireland stack up on gender inequality? An exclusive study undertaken by media communications agency, MediaCom Ireland and leading Irish women’s website,, sheds some interesting light on these and other hot topics. The study explores attitudes to workplace equality, career progression, women in management, feminism, the top challenges facing women in 2018 and opinions on representations in media and advertising.


#1 GENDER IN THE WORKPLACE: There has been a noticeable increase in claimed sexism in the workplace with Women almost twice as likely as men to have experienced it (47% of women v 25% of men agreeing they have).

#2 PAY DISPARITY: Half of men (63%) and just over a third of women (34%) believe that there is salary balance for men and women in their workplace.

#3 AMBITION & SUCCESS: Men are more likely than women to agree they are driven by an ambition to reach heights in their career (60% of men agree vs 48% of women).  1 in 5 women (21%) believe that they must act like men to succeed. Almost half of Irish adults believe women must over-perform in the workplace to get the same recognition as men, with a huge difference across genders (64% of women agreeing vs 28% of men).

#4 WOMEN IN SENIOR POSITIONS & QUOTAS: almost 60% of men are happy with the proportion of women on the management team of their company, compared with 41% of women.  Men are less likely to support gender quotas than women, in both businesses and government.

#5 THE F WORD: 46% of women and 49% of men think the feminist agenda has gone too far. Just over two thirds (68%) of both men and women think we should start talking about “people in business” rather than “women in business”.

#6 TOP CHALLENGES IN 2018: The number one challenge facing Irish women of all ages, is that of having children while trying to build a career at 40%. This was followed by ‘having a work-life balance amongst women overall (37%) but ‘equal pay’ for Women aged Under 35 (at 35%).

#7 REPEAL: Interestingly, repealing the 8th Amendment has fallen back as one of the major challenges facing younger women from 47% in 2017 to 34% this year.

#8 ADVERTISING STEROTYPES: 69% of women and 60% of men agree that most advertising reinforces gender stereotypes.

#9 WOMEN / MUMS IN ADVERTS: Almost 60% of women feel that they are not portrayed accurately advertising. While three quarters of women think mums are still depicted in clichéd ways by advertising. (As an aside, 41% of men believe the portrayal of men in advertising has become worse.

#10 BRANDS WHO ARE CONNECTING: the 3 brands nominated as standing out for connecting with Women were Lidl (on the back of their support for Ladies GAA), the car insurer, and the toiletries and cosmetics brand, Dove (who have had a long-standing commitment to using more realistic models in their ad campaigns.)

#11 WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN: The top 3 women who are viewed as having done a lot to represent or speak for women and their challenges were former presidents, Mary Robinson (24%) and Mary McAleese (20%), followed by Oprah Winfrey (12%), who delivered a rousing speech on the “me too” campaign at the Golden Globes earlier this year.

Michelle Davis, Business Director, MediaCom Ireland:

“Our study highlights the fact that gender inequality still remains a very real issue for women in Ireland today. Marketing and advertising has a role to play in this – there are particular brands and companies like Lidl, Its4Women and Dove, who seem to be getting it right but we still need more to make a stand and change the way they communicate with women.”

Liz Doyle, Commercial Manager, said:

“The basic conclusions to this very informative study are women do feel inequality in the workplace especially within management positions whereby they feel they have to over perform to get the same recognition as men. Interestingly just over two thirds of Men and Women think that we should start talking about ‘People in Business’ rather than ‘Women in Business’, thus advocating a more gender-neutral approach.”

Survey Background

This MediaCom / survey was conducted amongst 1,475 consumers using iReach’s consumer decisions panel. Fieldwork for the study was conducted via an online survey to a nationally representative sample between 22nd February – 1st March 2018.

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