These are the industries women believe are the best and worst for gender equality

Women in the aerospace industry are still rare.
Women in the aerospace industry are still rare.
Image: Reuters/NASA
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The finance and technology industries are not known as bastions of gender equality. Both have traditionally been male-dominated. And both have made efforts to address the perceived imbalance, especially in recent years.

Those efforts may be working, although they still don’t bring finance and tech in line with industries that have a longer history of female leadership.

A new survey of 3,500 women reveals which industries are seen as most and least equal by the women working in them. The data come from Fairygodboss, a site founded last year that aims to give women a place to share information about companies, for things like salary and maternity leave policies (which new hires might be afraid to ask about because of the possible stigma attached).

Women signing up to the site were asked a series of 12 questions, including how equally they thought men and women were treated at their company. The answers were then collated by the company into 30 industry groups. Here are the best and worst performers:

The aerospace industry performs least well in terms of perceived gender equality. It also scored lowest in terms of job satisfaction, and was the least likely to be recommended by women to others thinking of joining the field.

Finance and technology ranked in the top 10 for perceived equality, with 57.1% and 55.8% respectively.

The top spot in both perceived equality and job satisfaction went to public relations, a more “traditionally female-dominated” industry, according to Georgene Huang, co-founder of Fairygodboss.

But, Huang noted, factors other than perceived equality are also important to whether women recommend working in an industry.

Consulting services turned out to be one of the industries in which women felt happiest, and would recommend most highly. “We think this is because there has been such a great effort in that industry to ensure very generous benefits, flexible working, mentorship programs, work-life balance and other initiatives we know women care about,” Huang told Quartz in an email.

Efforts to hire and retain more women in this way aren’t beyond the aerospace and the other industries languishing near the bottom of the equality index, she said.