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A study finds that male managers in the UK block gender balance efforts.

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A study by the Chartered Management Institute, which raises new concerns about sexist views in the workplace, finds that male managers are holding back efforts to improve gender balance in UK companies.

According to CMI, a study of 1,149 managers across the UK found that male bosses in many companies had passive and even active resistance to gender equality.

The survey found that two-thirds of male managers believe their organization could successfully manage the problems of the future without gender-balanced leadership.

A third of male managers feel they are putting too much effort into maintaining gender balance at work, compared to 13% of female managers.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive Officer of CMI, said: “The relevant results suggest that there is always a possibility that we may retreat.” The data found “signs of resistance and perhaps early repulsion among many men,” she added.

The investigation follows a widespread accusation of sexist remarks last week directed at Aviva’s Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc.

Blanc said overt sexist behavior has risen despite campaigners’ efforts to improve gender balance in the workplace.

Dame Inga Beale, former head of insurance market at Lloyd’s of London, said the episode showed that the movement for gender equality still has “a long way to go”.

She said, “My frank approach has been detrimental in certain situations, because too many challengers in this regard can affect your career. This explains why we still have to deal with sexism in the workplace. It’s a classic example,” she said. The Financial Times added that her advocacy on the subject influenced her application for a non-executive board position.

Attempting to improve Lloyd’s culture during his five-year tenure, Beale has worked in a marketplace that previously called junior female underwriters “box bunnies” and “box bitches” to “everyone work together for equality in the business world”.

The CMI said there is still a large gap between male and female managers’ views on the need for gender-balanced leadership, with a “active backlash” among male managers.

Francke said that gender diversity is essential for future economic growth and social development.

“The sexist remarks made towards Amanda Blanc at AGM this week are just an open example of the inequality that exists at all organizational levels,” she added.

“Too little effort has been devoted to delivering the tremendous benefits of more capital, including better business and organizational performance, as all talent is better developed and deployed.”

The CMI survey also reported differences in opportunity between female and male managers with children. About 37% of female managers with children felt they were being ignored in promotions, 27% of male managers said they had missed a pay raise.

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