Female employees taking more volunteering tasks that do not lead to promotions

インターン 三橋咲那子

Have you ever faced the situation where your boss asks for a volunteer to do tasks that do not matter with promotion, and everyone becomes completely silent? In most of those cases, it ended up female employees saying yes. Gender difference has been seen in working places as women tend to take more of those voluntary tasks.

There are always such tasks that everyone tries to avoid, but someone has to do within a company, such as organizing a holiday party or taking on routine work that does not require much skills or knowledge. These volunteering tasks will neither produce company revenue nor be included in your performance evaluation.

The larger number of female volunteers means that if women always take those non-promotable tasks, it will severely affect their future career.

There is an interesting experiment by three women, Linda Babcock, Maria P. Recalde and Lise Vesterlund, about the gender difference in volunteering non-promotable tasks.

The experiment aims to clarify the situations and conditions where women are more likely to raise their hands for volunteering. People were divided into mixed groups and single-sex groups, and they were individually asked for volunteering that can only benefit others. The results of the experiment turned out to be interesting.

The results revealed that the real driver of a higher tendency in female volunteer was a shared understanding or expectation that women would volunteer more than man.

In the mixed group, men were holding back, and women ensure that someone has done volunteer work. However, when it is in a single-sex group, the number of men and women volunteer was entirely equal.

Moreover, when a manager can choose someone for volunteer, women received 44% more requests than men in mixed groups. This result does not make a difference in the gender of a manager.

What this entire experiment show was that how inequality of work tasks between different genders remains in the current society.

Let’s think about the solution to this issue. What we can do is not to change managers or male employees mindset to decline more work requests for women. That could induce another problem within an organization as an unequal treatment for men.

Instead, we could find a new way to distribute tasks more equally to both male and female. Managers should seek the idea of rotating works and tasks for each employee.


インターン 三橋咲那子

インターン 三橋咲那子


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