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Workplace Gender Inequality

Workplace Gender Inequality: Definition, Examples, Solutions

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Workplace gender inequality is continuously imposing the concept of a patriarchal society. Workplaces operate on gender-biased approaches where dominancy is given to the male members while female employees are treated as subordinates. Women are often offered household jobs or clerical ones where major decision-making is not involved. So discriminatory behavior and even abuse are observed against women in the workplace.

We are living in the twenty-first century where the world is dominated by liberal values and human rights. Despite the awareness regarding feminism, women are still stuck in low-status jobs with a pay gap of around twenty percent. In fact, the global gap is huge with the participation rate of women ranging less than forty-seven percent while that of men is seventy-two percent in the recent global labor force as the International Labor Organization reports. This gap even reaches fifty percent in some regions. The women still hardly occupy leadership roles and remain concentrated at thirty-seven percent.

Keep reading to get the insights about global gender gap and inequality in workplaces.

Key Takeaways

  1. Workplace gender inequality involves discrimination in the workplace based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  2. The factors include unequal pay, minimal leadership representation, stereotypes, sexual harassment, and work-life balance challenges.
  3. The Civil Rights Act and amendments protect against workplace discrimination.
  4. Many initiatives focus on “fixing” women rather than addressing systemic issues.
  5. Imposter syndrome is a result of workplace context, not personal issues.
  6. Gender inequality leads to economic drawbacks, high turnover, mental health issues, and a lack of innovative ideas.
  7. Effective strategies include encouraging work-life balance, addressing workplace segregation, protecting against economic downturns, achieving pay equity, developing high-quality care jobs, and eradicating discrimination.

Women

Workplace Gender Inequality Definition

The various kinds of discriminatory behavior with an employee or a job applicant because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex is called workplace gender inequality. Women are usually considered inferior in workplaces and this creates barriers to their success. Resultantly, they are paid less, harassed, passed over for promotion, gender stereotyping, or assessed bleakly.

Workplace Gender Inequality Examples

Workplace Gender Inequality Examples

Workplace gender inequality examples include:

  1. Creating unnecessary discipline issues that the opposite gender employees are allowed to do.
  2. Not being hired or denied leadership roles because of gender.
  3. Being insulted and called by derogatory names based on your gender.
  4. Being requested for sexual favors or becoming a victim of sexual harassment.

Factors Contributing to Workplace Gender Inequality

Factors Contributing to Workplace Gender Inequality

There are a number of factors contributing to workplace gender inequality. Some of them include:

  1. Unequal Pay Packages
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Bare Minimum Representation in Leadership Roles
  4. Microaggressions by Gender and Racial Stereotypes
  5. Work-Life Balance

Legal Aspect of Workplace Gender Inequality

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow any employer to treat you unequally based on your religion, color, sex, national origin, or race, as marked in Title VII. It was amended to further add sexual orientation and gender identity after a ruling given by the Supreme Court in 2020. According to the law, only employers are accountable for discriminatory acts but they should have at least 15 persons serving under them to come under this obligation. Employees can’t be retaliated against by the employer if they pursue any case of workplace gender inequality. Title VII prohibits employers from punishing them by demoting or firing them.

Vulnerable Employment

Women are both unemployed and vulnerable in workplaces. They are sidelines in the shortlisting process and hardly get a reputable job. This issue is mostly found in the Arab States and Northern Africa having a twenty percent unemployment rate. Once the women get the job they then face vulnerable employment where they are underrepresented in the high-profile jobs and overrepresented in the low-profile jobs.

Shorter working hours for women as compared to men is a type of vulnerable employment where they are compelled to work fewer hours. Time-related underemployment is ranging forty-six percent in the developing states for women. On the contrary, the working hours increase three times for women in unpaid care work and household jobs. Considering these hours along with the paid working hours, women spend more time working than men but half of it is not counted and goes waste in invisible labor.

Women are vulnerable at workplaces because of maternity coverage as well. Although, countries have systems supporting maternity protection still sixty percent of mothers are not entitled to have the statutory right to enjoy leaves thereby leaving jobs after childbirth. In fact, they do not enjoy social protection like women have eleven percentage points less pension than men. Similarly, their entitlements decrease given less pay scale and fewer working hours.

Mistakes in Workplace Gender Equality Initiatives

The entire system is fixated on a few things. While designing workplace equality initiatives, almost all workplaces try to fix the women working there instead of fixing the entire system that perpetuates inequality. Yet the diverse and interconnected experiences shaping the lives of women are often overlooked. Another deliberate mistake usually observed is to describe statistics instead of addressing systemic problems. The workplaces should approach gender inequality by considering it an adamant issue that has persisted for over five decades as the optimism about progress is outshining the enduring challenges women still face.

Most workplace gender equality initiatives are designed positively to support career trajectories but they lack evidence and on-ground research. As mostly initiatives consist of:

  1. Attracting women in under-represented roles and professions
  2. Retaining women in the workplace
  3. Supporting women’s career paths

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome defines the individual condition of doubting self-worth and transferring credit to others or luck. Many initiatives are taken to diagnose and treat women in overcoming this feeling of being imposters like shifting mindset, reducing the level of perfectionism, and increasing confidence. But recent research including Begeny et al. (2022) suggested the feelings of imposters as a reaction to the treatment by others. Likewise, Feenstra et al. (2020) found imposter syndrome to be a result of organizational and social context rather than a personal problem. The underlying reason is the exclusion of women from decision-making roles or even not considering them for pieces of advice makes them under confident. Thereby, rather than fixing women there is a need to fix organizations.

Consequences of Workplace Gender Inequality

The workplaces dominated by gender inequality suffer overall as an organization other than a drop in individual success rate. Some of the consequences of workplace gender inequality are given next:

  1. Economic drawbacks because of the high turnover of women employees as their hard work is neither acknowledged nor they are appreciated.
  2. Mental health disorders (stress, burnout, anxiety) because of sexual harassment and undervaluation. This declines the productivity of individuals and thereby the reputation of the overall company.
  3. Another consequence of workplace gender inequality is less innovative ideas in companies when women are excluded from research and development and decision-making processes.

How to Eliminate Workplace Gender Inequality?

There are many workable solutions to bridge the gender gap and eliminate gender inequality. Let us explore them one by one in the following paragraphs:

  1. Encourage a healthy work-life balance

The policies of the workplace should be considerate enough to consider basic social protection measures specifically including parental leave, paid maternity, and the rest of maternity security. There is a need to have well-devised policy reforms that should compensate women considering the time spent doing household chores and other unpaid family work.

  1. Address workplace segregation

The problem that we have emphasized throughout this blog is the over representation of women in low-value and unskilled labor jobs including care department. This issue needs to be addressed by challenging the perceptions of people. The up-to-the-mark values need to be inculcated in society by giving awareness, public outreach, education, and job evaluation systems.

  1. Protect against economic downturns

Economic crunch on women is more likely as they are mostly serving in informal job types. Organizations need to work on gender-responsive policies to limit the impacts of economic crises. One such minimal effort to eliminate gender inequality can be formalizing jobs in the informal economy.

  1. Attain pay equity

If organizations are working to eliminate workplace gender inequality then they should follow the equal remuneration principle for work. Every employee should be valued equally not only in theory but also in practice. This can be promoted by increasing the ratio of minimum wage, improving the transparency in wages, or neutrally evaluating jobs rather than gender biases.

  1. Develop high-quality care jobs

Care professions are very common among women but they need to be adjusted to eliminate workplace gender inequality. Given the poor protection and regulation these jobs have it is important to bring betterment in the working conditions for the care professionals. Also, another important factor here is to shift more such jobs towards social and public departments.

  1. Eradicate Discrimination

Though companies have policies to discourage discrimination but it is not enough. There is a need for additional measures as well. This includes specialized equality bodies, effective remedies, public awareness campaigns, etc. aimed at eradicating discrimination.

Conclusion

Workplace gender inequality is a persistent problem that has existed for more than fifty years. Employment opportunities are categorized on the basis of gender. Women are offered low-status jobs but they are willing to have paid employment. The societal mindset and socioeconomic factors keep them away from being treated equally. However, the ever-increasing global gender gap needs to be minimized as it impacts the entire global economy.

Frequently Asked Questions Workplace Gender Inequality

  1. What is workplace gender inequality?

The various kinds of discriminatory behavior with an employee or a job applicant because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex is called workplace gender inequality.

  1. What is the participation rate of women in the workforce?

The global gap is huge with the participation rate of women ranging less than forty-seven percent while that of men is seventy-two percent in the recent global labor force as the International Labor Organization reports. This gap even reaches fifty percent in some regions.

  1. What are the consequences of workplace gender inequality?

The consequences of workplace gender inequality are economic drawbacks, high turnover, mental health disorders, and less innovative ideas.

  1. What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome defines the individual condition of doubting self-worth and transferring credit to others or luck.

  1. How to eliminate workplace gender inequality?

To eliminate workplace gender inequality organizations need to encourage a healthy work-life balance, address workplace segregation, protect against economic downturns, attain pay equity, develop high-quality care jobs, and eradicate discrimination.

  1. Is imposter syndrome an individual-level problem?

No, the feelings of imposters are a reaction to the treatment by others. Since women are mistreated in the workplace so it is perceived as an individual-level problem.

  1. What mistakes are committed during the development of workplace gender equality policies?

While designing workplace equality initiatives, almost all workplaces try to fix the women working there instead of fixing the entire system that perpetuates inequality. Yet the diverse and interconnected experiences shaping the lives of women are often overlooked. Another deliberate mistake usually observed is to describe statistics instead of addressing systemic problems. The workplaces should approach gender inequality by considering it an adamant issue that has persisted for over five decades as the optimism about progress is outshining the enduring challenges women still face.

  1. Do workplaces give maternity coverage?

Women are vulnerable at workplaces because of maternity coverage as well. Although, countries have systems supporting maternity protection still sixty percent of mothers are not entitled to have the statutory right to enjoy leaves thereby leaving jobs after childbirth.

  1. Which factors contribute to workplace gender inequality?

The factors contributing to workplace gender inequality include unequal pay packages, sexual harassment, bare minimum representation in leadership roles, microaggressions by gender and racial stereotypes, and work-life balance.

  1. Is imposter syndrome an issue in the women’s workforce?

No. Feenstra et al. (2020) found imposter syndrome to be a result of organizational and social context rather than a personal problem. The underlying reason is the exclusion of women from decision-making roles or even not considering them for pieces of advice makes them under confident. Thereby, rather than fixing women there is a need to fix organizations.

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