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This report is based on gender discrimination in the workplace. Gender Discrimination in the workplace may occur in different ways. Although every country admits that gender inequity must be removed, it still is a big issue, especially for women. In most of the gender discrimination cases, the attitude of higher authorities was biased against victims (male, female, transgender). This attitude makes a hostile working environment for victims resulting in stress and lack of motivation in victims. We mentioned some of the famous incidents of gender discrimination of big organizations against their employees and fight back of those employees. We discussed current laws and possible future strategies to prevent such cases.
Gender Discrimination in the workplace is a huge problem even in the current modern world. Gender discrimination occurs when a person is treated in his job on the basis of his sex. This is a serious problem in developed, developing and least-developed countries. There are different ways through someone is discriminated at his workplace. Job hiring/firing, promotion, pay, harassment and job classification are some ways of gender discrimination in the workplace. This issue has been a topic of debate around the world. Different countries have made laws regarding gender discrimination in the workplace. But still, there are lots of cases of gender discrimination at workplaces. Even a developed country like the USA couldn’t eradicate this from American society despite having strict laws.
Any preference, importance or elimination made on the basis of gender or sex of an employee is considered as gender discrimination. If a company doesn’t provide equal opportunities to its employees then it is committing gender discrimination. It is unfair, unequal treatment in employment opportunities of an individual on the basis of his/her gender. Employment opportunities include promotions, an increase in pay and benefits. Mostly women are subject to gender discrimination but men can also be victims. Transgender are also the target of gender discrimination in the workplace.
Gender discrimination cases have been observed in private sector, businesses, NGOs as well as in government offices and educational institutions. Different salaries, facilities, working conditions, promotion opportunities and hiring criteria based on the gender of the employee are different scenarios of gender discrimination.
Gender Discrimination in The Workplace Literature Review
Data collected from different reports and researches shows trends of gender discrimination in developing, least developed and developed countries.
In 2006, a study conducted in Sweden revealed problems faced by women in public and private sector. The study showed that women having small kids suffer more problems in their careers. Young and elderly women also face a lot of problems in their jobs regardless of their skills and abilities. Women have had trouble in getting promotions and benefits. However, this study didn’t show any evidence regarding fewer job opportunities for women as compared to men. This study was also focused on effects of sticky floors and glass ceilings on women. (Bihagen & Ohils, 2006)
In 1999, there were almost 24000 complaints were registered with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission USA (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sex-Based Charges FY 1992-FY 1999). There have been huge numbers of cases filed in US courts regarding gender discrimination. Most of the victims were women working as, receptionist, prison guard, factory workers, college professors and cashiers. These women faced gender discrimination in their respective fields by their superiors or co-workers. We have listed few of the famous cases of gender discrimination in the workplace in American society.
- Federal Government agreed to pay $508 million to 1100 women in 2000. These women claimed that US information agency and voice of America didn’t give them jobs because of their gender. These women claimed that government adopted an unfair policy of keeping women away from technical jobs. And for this purpose, several unfair means were used to benefit male candidates. (MOLOTSKY)
- Female employees of Del Laboratories went to court against one of their chief executive. These women claimed that they were harassed and abused by that chief executive and company tried to pressurize them to lie. These courageous women won the battle against discrimination and were paid $1.2 million by Del Laboratories. (GOLDBERG, 1996)
- In 1996, a pathetic incidence of gender discrimination against women was highlighted. Female workers of a chili processing plant went to court. These women claimed that they were forced to wear diapers and denied bathroom breaks. On the other hand, male workers were given such breaks. The suit was settled for an unknown amount.
- In 1998, Mitsubishi was blamed for allowing male senior staff to harass female staff. According to EEOC, almost 500 women were victims of such environment. Most of these women were harassed, abused and humiliated by their coworkers. Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to settle the matter. (BRAUN, 1998)
- District Attorney of Douglas County was blamed for discrimination by sex of his female employees. One of these employees claimed that attorney asked to interview female applicants but send them a letter of rejection.
In 2004, a report released by United Nations revealed that peacekeepers in Liberia exploited and abused young women. Culprits used food and money to abuse these young women. UN decided to send female peacekeepers to stop such issues.
A report made by Uzma Shoukat gives us a better perspective of literacy and women’s identity. She wrote in her report that identity of an individual is formed by factors like parents, society and environment. She found out that attitude of parents towards their kids play a major role in forming personality. She wrote that parents (mostly in South Asia) consider their daughters weak and vulnerable. This mentality is the initial step of discrimination. (Shoukat, 2004)
Gender Discrimination Examples
These are few examples of gender discrimination in the workplace.
If there are not equal promotion opportunities for male and female in an organization then there is gender discrimination present in that organization.
In most cases of gender discrimination, women are paid less than men working on the same position. Stats show that in America women only earn 77 cents as compared to one dollar earned by men.
In past, we’ve seen many examples that companies used to prefer men while hiring. There are several reasons for such incidents.
The following figure shows statistics of an interview. American men and women were asked if they faced discrimination in getting a promotion or new opportunities.
Many organizations are biased in providing opportunities. This biasness is mostly towards female employees. Even in the developed country like America, women claimed that they were denied of new opportunities because of their gender.
A case of denying career opportunities based on gender appeared in Good Year Tire Company. 800 female employees of this company claimed that they were denied of new opportunities because of their gender. The company agreed to pay $925000 for settlement.
Similar incidence happened in Svenska Handlesbanken, an international banking firm. Victoria Greenbaum was denied of vice presidency positions despite the recommendations of her seniors. Every time different explanation was given by the company for not appointing her to this post.
As we discussed earlier there are several factors which create a discriminatory environment mostly for women. Job capabilities, bargaining skills, nature of job and work-load are few issues. These are challenges which mostly women face while entering the job market and on the other hand men face several other challenges. Moreover, there is not much institutional support to decrease gender discrimination.
Although there are laws implemented but still not a country in the world has managed to eradicate gender discrimination completely. In the USA there are following laws implemented to prevent such behavior.
Civil rights act of 1964 (title VII):
This law prohibits discrimination based on gender, race, color and religion.
Equal Credit opportunity Law:
This law prohibits creditors from discriminating credit applicants.
Equal Pay Act of 1993:
This law was made to make sure that all employees of a company get paid equally.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act:
This law was made to protect female workers. It prohibits companies to discriminate against pregnant employees.
(Gender Discrimination: Applicable Laws)
Every country has laws which prohibit discrimination at workplace against any gender. We only mentioned laws of USA.
Regardless of these laws, there are still a lot of complaints about gender discrimination at workplace. These are few recommendations to prevent such cases.
- Regular inspection of the government sector and private sector by an independent authority.
- Implementing strong monitoring process at workplaces.
- Raising awareness about gender discrimination at workplaces.
- Implementing new laws to protect victims, especially women from gender discrimination.
- These laws must be integrated with national policy for gender equality
Gender discrimination is a mentality. People accept discrimination at workplaces. To eradicate this psychology we need to empower our women. A better education opportunity is first step to for empowering women. We need to come up with more strategies, short term and long term goals for gender equity.
Gender discrimination in the workplace is unfair treatment of employees based on their gender. It is a civil rights violation. There are different forms of gender discrimination such as harassment, unequal pay, unequal career opportunities, pregnancy discrimination and discrimination in hiring. Unfortunately, most of the times women are subject to gender discrimination even in developed countries like the USA. However, there are laws implemented in USA and most of the other countries, which protects victims of gender discrimination.
The impacts of gender discrimination are very severe. In South Asia, many women quit their jobs because of the gender discrimination in the workplace. Lack of motivation, continuous tension, insecurity and stress are some of the impacts of the gender discrimination. Unfortunately, there is an increase in a number of complaints regarding facing gender discrimination in the workplace. Continuous monitoring of private and public sector by an independent authority, new laws integrated with national policy and strict punishments are possible solutions of the problem.
Also study: Gender and Human Rights
- Bihagen, E., & Ohils, M. (2006). The glass ceiling-where is it? Women’s and men’s career prospects in the private vs. the public sector in Sweden.
- BRAUN, S. (1998). Mitsubishi to Pay $34 Million in Sex Harassment Case. Retrieved from latimes.com
- Gender Discrimination: Applicable Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://civilrights.findlaw.com
- GOLDBERG, C. (1996). Employees Describe Sexual Harassment by Chief Executive. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com.
- MOLOTSKY, I. (n.d.). U.S. Is Offering Record Amount In Sex-Bias Suit. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
- Shoukat, U. (2004). Literacy and women’s identity, Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Sciences: Endangered and Engendered.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sex Based Charges FY 1992-FY 1999. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.