Women support other women at work.

About one in five women (18%) in America say they work in environments where there are more men than women — and they admit it’s tougher for them to get ahead, and that they’re more prone to experiencing sexual harassment and other workplace difficulties. Meanwhile, the 48% of women who say they work in female-majority workplaces, and the 33% who say it’s an even mix, report suffering less gender discrimination and fewer obstacles on the road toward success.

These are the findings of data released this week by the Pew Research Center, based on a survey of almost 5,000 adults, conducted in mid-2017.

“Women working in majority-male workplaces are overall less likely to see fair treatment of women in their workplace, and they’re also less likely to say that there’s adequate attention given to gender diversity,” said Kim Palmer, director of social trends research at Pew. “In contrast to that, women who work in (majority-female or evenly split) workplaces…say that women are treated fairly in recruitment and hiring, when it comes to promotions and advancement, and that the company or organization pays the right amount of attention to increasing gender diversity.”

A greater presence of women at work provides myriad other benefits, too. More than one in three (34%) of women in male-majority workplaces said their gender might make it more difficult for them to succeed, versus just 13% of women who work primarily with other women.

About half of women (49%) in majority-male workplaces said that sexual harassment is “at least a small problem where they work,” and 15% of that cohort said it’s “a big problem.”  Meanwhile, only about one in three (34%) who were working with mostly other women said the same.

More women at work means more equal pay, too: 35% of women in majority-male workplaces reported earning less than a man for doing the same job at one point in their careers, versus 22% of women in female-majority environments.

Why might female-dominated workplaces yield perks like more equal pay and less harassment?

“The type of man that would go into a female-dominated field is probably not that likely to engage in that type of bad behavior,” said Deborah Searcy, a management professor at Florida Atlantic University. “Culture develops over decades, and…certain industries have certain reputations, and when new people would be entering those industries, they look and see what the existing culture is.”

Plus, “in female-dominated fields, calling in favors to fulfill family duties like leaving the office early to attend a child’s game, switching shifts with a colleague to free up time to go to a doctor’s appointment, or to chaperone a school field trip — these are things that women tend to do in greater numbers than men,” Searcy added. “So while the actual industry policies in male- and female-dominated industries on things like parental leave might not be noticeably different from one another, there could be a cultural, empathetic, or other kinds of emotional differences at play.”

Industries that have historically been dominated by women include marketing, human resources, caregiving occupations like nursing or elder care or teaching, and public relations, Searcy noted; in some of these fields, nearly three in four employees are female. Industries like construction, finance, and STEM fields have long been more hospitable toward men — and are known for fostering cultures that, in many cases, hold women back.  

Also read: “Women tell Moneyish how their STEM careers have been riddled with gender discrimination”

For context, about 53% of the overall American workforce today is made up of men, Pew says; the remaining 47% are women. It’s likely to stay this way: “The share of the workforce that’s female has leveled off since about 2000 (and) hasn’t been increasing,” Palmer concluded. “Will women reach 50%? Looking out to 2060, our projections show that they’ll still make up about 46-47% of the workforce.”