Men and women are indeed from distinct planets when it comes to views on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace, a new study has found.
Despite almost three in four saying their organisations are committed to diversity, 67 per cent more women than men reported feeling their workplaces have "threatening work environments".
The study also found women were 27 per cent more likely to provide suggestions for improvements, and men were 573 per cent more likely to say they are unsure of how to improve DE&I efforts than women.
More than 1000 employees from 18 organisations were surveyed through the TINYpulse DE&I survey between July and December 2020.
Authors Dr Elora Voyles, an assistant professor of industrial/organisational psychology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and David Niu, founder of software company TINYpulse, said the study found "a massive perception gap between men and women on diversity, equity, and inclusion" and "that's a challenge that needs to be resolved in the workplace".
The study found 73 per cent believe their company is committed to diversity and most employees agreed their organisational culture appreciates differences.
But employees were less likely to agree diversity awareness is a priority in their organisations and women rated their companies' DE&I efforts lower than men in every part of the survey.
About 67 per cent more women reported feeling that their organisation has a threatening work environment compared with men.
"This indicates that there is a larger number of women who feel that their work environment does not allow them to feel safe in expressing themselves," the report said.
Women provided significantly more feedback on DE&I.
One female employee said: "Hard to narrow to one thing, but hiring and promoting diverse employees and managers will be important to including those voices in all conversations."
Men provided 573 per cent more "unsure" responses compared to women when asked how to improve DE&I.
An example of an unsure response from a male employee was: "I currently don't have any ideas here."
More than twice as many women recommended diversity training and education, and both genders equally suggested giving employees voice, celebrating diversity, inclusive collaboration, administering surveys, and enacting policy changes.
Not all supported more diversity and not all suggestions were directed in favour of increased diversity.
"Hire people who fit the job, based on qualifications not some other attribute. On the opposite side, if we are going to start to worry about these types of things instead of how qualified someone is, then I have some things I need to think about as far is this the place for me," one said.
The report authors said DE&I initiatives were most successful when supported by employees and should be implemented as a holistic system rather than piecemeal.
In a survey earlier this year of more than 400 human resources managers, more than half rated DE&I as a top priority for their organisations.