Gender Discrimination at the Work Place Introduction According to Gorman (2008), gender discrimination is the practice of denying or granting rights and/or privileges to an individual based on gender. This practice is acceptable and longstanding to both genders in some societies. In some religious groups, gender discrimination is considered as part of the norm, especially discrimination on women. However, in most countries that are civilized an industrialized, it is considered to be illegal uncalled for.
Gender discrimination is a term used in sociology to refer to undertaking treatment towards or against an ndividual of a certain group based on his/her class or perceived category. The term refers to beliefs and attitudes that people develop in relation to the gender of an individual. It is mostly pointed towards adverse action against another human being that would not have taken place if the person was of a different sex. It also refers to letting an individual’s sex become a factor when it comes to deciding about hiring, promotion on a Job, or any other benefits that comes with employment.
In most cases, it affects the female gender, and they always feel that they are being unfairly discriminated against by men. People’s attitude toward discrimination based on gender can be traced back to the beginnings of certain aspects and beliefs of the society. Discrimination is mostly attributed to religious stories related to the origin of man, where man is regarded as superior and the woman is her helper. Different literary fictions also refer to females being the weaker and fairer sex and the males are regarded as strong and invincible, hence they control the females (Katarzyna, 2012).
The combined force of the religious and societal beliefs about gender has left a gap on what is right, and it has become a major issue up to date. Traditionally, ender discrimination has been viewed as a problem mostly encountered by the females, but it males have also fallen victim of it. For example, some Jobs which were customarily or historically regarded as women Jobs can be denied to men following social stigmas. Such Jobs include nursing Jobs and flight attendants (Held, 2006). Nadler and Stockdale (2012) points out that gender discrimination in the workplace raises concern in most organizations and companies.
The increased cultural diversity with regard to gender in the workplace has made employees from different backgrounds to work together work together in order to meet the objectives and oals of the organization. However, employee differences have lead to misunderstandings between workmates as a result of gender discrimination. Employers therefore have a great responsibility to their employees to protect them from any form of discrimination including those related to gender in the workplace.
Types of Gender Discrimination According to Katarzyna (2012), there are two main types or categories of gender discrimination, which are disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment refers to treating an employee differently because of their gender, such as worker being asked discriminatory questions during a Job interview based on his/ her gender, an employer may choose not hire based on gender, an employee can be certain organizations based on gender. When it comes to disparate impact as a type of gender discrimination, the company policies and practices are taken into consideration.
Practices and policies of a company in relation to excluding certain individuals ofa particular gender from a Job or Job related benefits such as promotions falls under this category, although some of the policies or practices were not designed to create discrimination. For example, many fire departments have a policy of hiring men based on their masculine strength; hence it is a requirement for hiring firefighters that in most cases exceeded what is needed by an individual to perform the duties of a firefighter effectively.
Such practices and requirements disparately affect women, some of whom have the necessary strength and skills to be good firefighters, but are locked out by the department based the requirement of strength which is relative. Therefore, Katarzyna (2012) outlines many forms of gender discrimination which affect employees in an organization. Some types of ender discrimination display signs of deviant behavior that are obvious while other forms cannot be seen and the person being harassed can only report.
Gender discrimination in terms of harassment can come from an employer, a supervisor, colleague, client, the management or anyone in the organization. In most countries, it is illegal to discriminate against gender either when applying for a Job or looking, pay or for promotion. The law protests the employees against such discrimination. Sexual harassment which is also part of gender discrimination is also prohibited in most countries and there are laws governing that.
An employer can discriminates against an employee by Judging the employee based on some particular characteristic that is protected, and uses that characteristic as a basis to infringe the rights of the individual with regard to employment or other benefits like promotion or pay raise. They can also simply harass the employee verbally or sexually (Coy and Dwoskin 2012). Held (2006) points out that it is important to note the indicators of gender discrimination, like for instance, the qualifications of Job applicants are the main indicator of gender discrimination in the hiring process.
Small differences in qualifications of male and female candidates may not be automatically regarded as gender bias, that is if a lesser qualified candidate is hired instead of a candidate from the other gender, but if the difference in qualifications is more drastic, it can be upheld by that there is gender discrimination in that process of hiring. For instance, if a male high school dropout without receiving is hired in a managerial position over a female candidate with Bachelors degree, then this is an outright sign of gender discrimination.
Examples of Gender Discrimination at the workplace include; an mployee being discriminated by asking discriminatory questions in a Job interview, an employer refusing to hire completely based on gender, an employer refusing to promote or an employer wrongfully terminating an employee based gender, where employees are paid unequally based on gender, an individual is refused credit completely, or is offered different loan terms based on gender.
Historically, employers have paid the female employees substantially less than their male counterparts doing the same Job. Some employers and managers also fire female employees when they get pregnant, even though they would have continued to carry out their Job uties effectively. Some countries and organizations have made steps in addressing to achieve real gender equality in organizations and companies. Another form of discrimination towards women is glass ceiling in corporate hierarchy, where an employee cannot rise beyond a certain level in the organization.
Glass ceiling is a metaphor describing the invisible barriers preventing employees, especially women from reaching the levels of top management in an organization. It refers to less tangible preventers which frequently used as a culture in the society, and is different from formal barriers to career advancement like education. The glass ceiling and other psychological factors prevent women from advancing to top management or supervisory positions.
Some argue that the main reason application of glass ceiling was for women are that they did not have the necessary skills and experience to be part of the higher level management, they end up being restricted to support, clerical and other lower level positions. By the late 1970s and early the 1980s, few women had college and university education and even fewer had management degrees, but this has reversed now and glass ceiling cannot apply. Many women in current times ave surpassed that hurdle of glass ceiling and fit into the top management very well.
Even though they are few in some organizations, the number is increasing and the few who have made it are surrounded by men. The less number of women in the top management in some organizations has contributed different forms of gender discrimination such as sexual harassment, inequality in salaries and wages, gender stereotyped roles and blocked movement. According to Nadler and Stockdale (2012), it is believed that women have different leadership styles and their form of management is very different from that of men.
They are regarded as kind and caring by nature compared to men. Men have been stereotyped to be tougher and shrewd when it comes to leadership and management, which is sometimes said to be positive leadership traits. Women, with their traditional role in the home of housekeeping and taking care of the children have been stereotyped as being weak hence cannot manage properly. Some men working in the top management and do not like the notion of women climbing the corporate ladder to the top, have the belief that believe that they do not have what it takes to become top managers.
Effects of gender discrimination in the workplace Reduced Productivity According to Nadler and Stockdale (2012), employees who fall victim of gender discrimination can lose motivation. Employee morale is necessary to effectively perform duties, and bias based on gender can lead leads to loss with regard to productivity. Any type of harassment in the work place can lead to loss of morale. For instance, offensive Jokes based on gender can affect the attitude of employees’ towards their colleagues, which in turn affect the overall attitude towards the Job.
This can have a multiplier effect on achieving the organizational goals. The goals and bjectives of an organization cannot be achieved if the employees are not motivated. Gender discrimination can disturb an individual both psychologically and emotionally, resulting in demoralization which can reduce an individual’s performance standards. It can affect the overall performance of an organization or bring it down completely. It can also fuel more discrimination which can further increase lapses in performance.
Gender discrimination at the workplace can be from Discrimination by fellow workmates mostly happens to from colleagues, attitude, making funny comments, and other forms of discriminatory gestures during at the early days. If this persists for a longer time, it can have a negative effect on both the employee and the employer. However, the effect on the employer can be long term and can be detected much later compared to the effect on the employee which is instant. The outcome of the effects on the employee can be non cooperation from other colleagues and negative or no feedbacks form subordinates.
Unethical Practices Gender discrimination can make supervisors and managers engage in unethical and illegal practices such as promoting an individual based on gender. This happens to both genders, but women are the beneficiaries for promotion based on gender in ost cases. However, employment, promotion or any other work related favors based on gender can be a good thing like in the case of affirmative action to create balance. This cannot be regarded as gender discrimination, but if it is favoritism based on gender for mutual personal gains, then it is unethical (Held, 2006).
Family and Society Nadler and Stockdale (2012) claims that in the workplace, married women with family and children to take care of can experience push-backs in particular tasks or when being interviewed for a Job or task because of family responsibilities. This is often the case especially during interviews, even though it is illegal in most countries. Such discrimination may make the person hiring to disregard a qualified female candidate with the excuse that she will be having many responsibilities at home hence the responsibilities of the Job will be unbearable.
It is easy for employers to know the family responsibilities of a woman by Jus looking at the employee profile in the employee which shows her marital status and number of kind with the respective ages. Employers and supervisors can then choose whether to give her less work or ive menial Job that require less responsibilities, which may not fit her qualifications and Job description. Gender discrimination in organizations and companies also affect the society.
It can widen the socio-economic inequalities and erode social cohesion and solidarity, which in turn leads to wastage of resources and human talent. Destruction According to Held (2006), the employees who fall victim of discrimination may resort to destruction and vandalism as a way of getting get back employer, supervisor or coworkers who discriminated against him/her. Destructiveness can be in terms of hysical violence, destruction of property or self destruction. Self destruction can lead to stress, drug and substance abuse and occupational diseases in some cases.
Dealing with gender discrimination in the workplace According to Nadler and Stockdale (2012), it is important to deal with gender discrimination in order to increase profitability and competitiveness in an organization. Most organizations have put in place concrete laws that concerns employee rights and issues of gender discrimination. Failure to communicate the implications of gender discrimination in the work place can lead to consequences uch as penalties and court procedures, and can tint the image of the organization. rovide organizations and companies with moral guidelines to help them respect employee rights such as the right to be free from bias and harassment based on gender. Coy and Dwoskin (2012) suggests that employers should take the necessary steps in dealing with gender discrimination in the workplace: First, employers should communicate the rights to employees and the laws that are related to the work place. It illegal for managers and employers to make hiring and firing based on gender, and he employees have a right to be treated equally.
Secondly, employers should both male and female employees the same wages for positions and responsibilities that are similar as stipulated in the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Katarzyna (2012) also points out that the employers should consider additional laws pertaining to businesses and employees. There are different additional laws that seal with gender discrimination at the workplace and protect employees from different forms of discrimination. Another way to deal with gender discrimination is to review the complaint process. Employers and supervisors should not take complaints relating to gender discrimination for granted.
Court procedures may require companies and organizations to provide testimony and documentation related to complaints, and how they were handled. The legal experts should be consulted by organizations to translate the labor laws to employers on specific requirements in complaint resolution concerning gender discrimination. Finally, Coy and Dwoskin (2012) suggests that employers and supervisors should train the employees on issues related to gender and how to behave in the workplace. They should know the vailable labour laws and channels of communications to avoid gender disparities and favoritism.
References Coy, P. , & Dwoskin, E. (2012). Shortchanged: Why women get paid less than men. Bloomberg Businessweek, 4285. Nadler, J. T. , & Stockdale, M. S. (2012). Workplace gender bias: Not Just between strangers. North American Journal of Psychology, 14(2), 281-291. Gorman L. (2008). “Discrimination”. In Henderson D. R. (ed. ). Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2nd ed. ). Indianapolis. Held V. (2006). Ethics of Care. with gender associations: A Cognitive-cultural Model. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 32: 46.