In modern societies, gender discrimination is illegal but it persists regardless. Gender discrimination refers to the unfair and biased behavior of an individual toward another based on gender or sexual orientation. Females tend to face gender discrimination in various settings, like access to education and healthcare, etc.
It is one of the most common and challenging workplace issues of the modern times. Biased behavior toward a particular gender in a workplace can not only cause harm but it can also lead to a drop in productivity and organizational loyalty.
Here are some of the signs that would indicate that the organization where you are working may be discriminating based on gender.
Policies based in Gender Discrimination
Several organizations formulate and implement policies that are intentionally, or unintentionally, gender-biased. For instance, late working hours, work arrangements that favor one gender over the other, a toxic working environment, or the inability of a certain gender to access healthcare.
Women are more likely to face gender discrimination in accessing healthcare, especially. In the United States, more than one-third of the females are in need of medical care but cannot afford it. A company’s health policy, therefore, should be such that it can give employees the access they need to medical healthcare, especially in cases of chronic diseases and accidents.
Many companies’ healthcare plans lack sufficient coverage for professional hazards or terminal illnesses, like mesothelioma cancer, which is a terminal illness caused by asbestos exposure in a workplace setting. A quick look at mesotheliomahope.com can help these organizations in pin-pointing good coverage plans for their employees. It’s a company’s corporate responsibility to take care of its employees and provide them with access to healthcare plans that they may need.
The Wage Gap between the Genders
In the United States, the wage gap between the genders is a glaring example of gender discrimination at the workplace. Many female employees are paid less than their male counterparts. Gender-based wage gap is common across all organizations and professions.
According to statistics, the total wage difference, in annual terms, between male and female employees comes down to more than $799 billion. Women in the US constitute about half of the population (50.8%), of which the percentage of working women is 46.7%. It is important that women who work the same number of hours are compensated the same as men.
Understaffing of Females in Workforce
The unequal male to female employment ratio in an organization points to the prevalence of gender discrimination within that organization. Many organizations prefer hiring males over females because males are considered more professional and work-oriented than their female counterparts. The gender-biased organizations consider female biological necessities, i.e. pregnancies and menstrual cycles, as work constraints, and therefore, don’t favor hiring them to avoid healthcare liabilities in the future.
In some organizations, supervisors and managers assign fewer or less important assignments to females. Additionally, they face hurdles in getting promotions and recognition for their work in comparison to their male colleagues. In a team, both male and female employees work together to accomplish goals, but the bosses would only promote males despite the effort put in by the female employees.
Underrepresentation in Leadership Positions
Female employees are barred from participating in executive-level meetings. Even if they do attend high-level board meetings, the executives would not pay due attention to their opinions and disapprove of their ideas, while the males are encouraged to express their viewpoints and ideas.
In some cases, the ideas put forward by the female employees are rejected outright, not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of gender bias.
So, an apparent sign of gender discrimination in an organization is the under-representation of women in leadership and decision-making roles, such as upper management positions, including board members, executive officers, senior managers, etc. To illustrate the underrepresentation of females in leadership roles, take a look at this report, which claims that there were only 41 females in leadership roles in 2021, constituting only 8.1% of all the leadership roles in the Fortune 500s.
Harassment at Workplace
Unwanted attention, derogatory remarks, catcalling, degrading behavior, are all forms of harassment. Additionally, use of offensive language, or physically assaulting or threatening to assault, all constitute harassment and interfere with the employee’s work performance.
In worst-case scenarios, the harassment can turn into sexual harassment where the harasser threatens an individual with punishment if the victim doesn’t accept the sexual advances from the harasser.
Female employees are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of sexual harassment at workplaces in comparison to their male colleagues. In the United States, 35% females have reported experiencing sexual harassment at some point during their careers. Harassment at the workplace can affect the mental and physical health of a victim leading to job displacement or relocation.
Gender discrimination at the workplace promotes unfavorable working conditions and a hostile work environment. Employers can build more conducive, diverse, and inclusive workplaces by reducing incidents of gender bias. In this way, companies can play an active role in providing better working conditions to workers irrespective of their gender and bring positive change to society.