Download the Data: Only 20% of Women Say Things Have Gotten Better at Work


A new ASCEND – Morning Consult poll reveals that a small minority of workers see progress towards more equitable treatment of women in the workplace.  Only 20% of women say things have gotten better for women in their companies in the last five years.  Men are more likely to perceive progress: 33% of men report positive change in the last five years.

The full poll is available to access here.

Key Takeaways:

Respondents in all demographics overwhelmingly expressed support for more women leaders and for gender pay equity, but were substantially less likely to support important change within their own companies.

  • When asked about hiring more women in leadership roles, 73% of respondents advocated for hiring more women in leadership in other companies, but only 44% agreed that this was something their own company should do.
  • Similarly, 74% of respondents supported implementing policies to reduce the gender pay gap, but only 45% strongly or somewhat supported change in their own company.


The poll also revealed important new data around the “ambition gap” that raises new questions about the impact of corporate culture on women. 

  • When asked whether they agreed with the statement “I aspire to be a top executive”, young men and women (ages 18 to 29) working in companies of more than 100 employees answered similarly: 53% of women strongly or somewhat agreeing (with 13% strongly disagreeing) and 61% of men strongly or somewhat agreeing (with 10% strongly disagreeing).
  • But the desire to be a top executive steeply declined for women as they reach mid-career.  For women ages 30-44 working at companies of 100+ employees, only 36% strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement, and 37% strongly disagreed.  The change for men was far more modest: 57% strongly or somewhat agreed while only 16% strongly disagreed.


ASCEND is a new initiative that seeks to identify and promote evidence-based strategies to advance women to the c-suite and boardroom and to help foster specific commitments for action from leading companies and institutions.

The inaugural ASCEND summit will be held at the Harmonie Club in NYC on May 10, 2019,  The event will be moderated by Mika Brzezinski and will feature prominent business and media leaders and leading scholars such as Arianna Huffington, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Carly Fiorina, Valerie Jarrett, Steph Korey, Ellen Kullman and Eileen Murray.

Morning Consult