Gender discrimination in the workplace

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Gender discrimination has been a prevalent issue in the majority of the contemporary workplaces although research has been limited due to gender egalitarian and gender equality perception in organizations. Gender discrimination is used to refer to the situation where individuals are disadvantaged by processes in the workplace forcing them to alter their behaviors (Kelan 3). Workers have been subjected to gender discrimination but the organizations present their workplaces as gender equality. Several studies conducted on gender discrimination indicate that organizations admit to gender discrimination at their workplace although these organizations construct instances of gender discrimination as meager events which occurred in the past and thereby develop a responsibility for women to overcome such hurdles. Although gender discrimination cases can be minimally reduced, complete elimination is not possible as there are substantial obstacles to achieving gender equality. Many states have laws against gender discrimination in organizations but workplace discrimination remains an unsolved problem facing workers. Gender discrimination is prevalent in women who are denied equality in the workplace compared to men. This paper will examine the present day workplace gender discrimination that has been going unnoticed.

Gender discrimination issues have been well documented in the contemporary workplaces. Several studies have researched on gender discrimination in organizational workplaces and these studies primarily focused on transformation, persistence as well as the emergence of gender discrimination issues in detail among employees particularly females. Contemporary organizations are often constructed as gender neutral but their processes plus norms which require the employees to display and abide by while at the workplace depicts the ideal employees as those exhibiting masculine characteristics and behaviors. For instance, male employees are rewarded for efficiency while female employees are left out due to their skills which cannot make for efficiency. While this is normal for the majority of organizations, this paper highlights that such behaviors comprise of gender discrimination which is regularly ignored for being the norm in the workplace. Majority of gender discrimination issues are perceived to be normal hence employees lack the will to report on such norms (Kelan 5). Organizations embracing gender equality deny any issues of gender discrimination despite strong cases on the contrary. Such organizations make it difficult for their employees to report on issues of gender discrimination since their cases won’t be considered with seriousness and will not be sufficiently challenged for disciplinary actions on the perpetrators.

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Gender discrimination in the workplace is a global phenomenon that spans across various countries and periods. It has led to some studies to hypothesize that organizations have lost the will or lack the ability to reduce gender discrimination at their workplaces. Discrimination influences negatively the workplace environment and it affects a majority of women of color, pregnant women, married women plus women with children.  Gender discrimination at the workplace takes various forms such as through sexual harassment, religion, ethnicity, and race. In the workplace, gender discrimination is experienced by women who may obtain employment favors as a result of their race (Gregory 61). When employers take into consideration an individual race as a factor in the employment terms, discrimination is considered to be present. An additional way through which gender discrimination takes place is through sex stereotyping and negative perceptions about women who bear children (Gregory 98). Employers may view motherhood as incompatible with the professional life thereby presenting serious hurdles to the upward mobility of the women workers. Pregnant women also experience gender discrimination when they are considered disruptive to the workplace events (Gregory 90). Women employees who are pregnant should be allowed to continue with their normal positions and when they come after maternity leave they should be retained in their previous positions for gender neutrality. When these situations of gender discrimination are absent in the workplace, productivity among the employees is lowered and the harmonious relationships which are crucial for the maintenance of a positive working environment are strained.

Even though there is continued awareness among the victims of gender discrimination in organizations, cases of gender discrimination continue to be experienced in the workplaces. Gender discrimination in the workplaces often goes unnoticed by the workers in the organizations since it is masked by factors of gender equality (Kelan 3). Often, organizations think that no gender discrimination occurs at the workplace since both females and males are treated with equality. This makes it hard for employees to report on cases of gender discrimination for the fear of the reaction they will receive from their co-workers. Additionally, the current set up in a majority of the organizations make it very difficult for workers to appropriately report cases of gender discrimination for easy follow up of the cases. Employees have been subjected to gender discriminated through various forms such as unfair termination of employment, positions denial, and subjection to adverse working conditions as a result of their gender. This has resulted in organizations suffering from strenuous working relationships which in turn lead to lower productivity. Additionally, organizational policies and procedures for reporting on cases of gender discrimination have resulted in a lower number of those reporting the cases compared to those who actually experience discrimination.

Over the last few years, workers have come to realize the increasing levels of gender discrimination at their workplaces; however, these organizations have presented themselves as gender neutral. Studies reveal that no state in the universe has yet accomplished to completely prohibit gender discrimination in its organizations (Kelan 4). The impact for the organizations is direct as well as indirect, with female employees being threatened, harassed and attacked while others have resorted to miss work and decrease their levels of performance. An increasing number of organizations have, therefore, resorted to proactive approaches to the issue of gender discrimination and have established comprehensive guidelines and policies, with the objective of reducing discrimination at the workplace hence retaining the productivity of their employees. These guidelines and policies major focus is ensuring that the productivity of the employees is maintained while ensuring harmonious working relationships are developed at the workplace. Organizations are encouraged to avail information about gender discrimination so that necessary assistance is afforded to the victims while adhering to the guidelines that limit the use of organizational resources for discrimination at the workplace.

There are various results that are associated with gender discrimination at the workplace. An open result of gender discrimination is lowered productivity among the victims. When employees are subjected to gender discrimination they are subjected to reduced working morale and may lack the necessary motivation to adequately perform their tasks. In turn, these employees may miss work which reduces their organizational productivity. Moreover, an organization that allows gender discrimination at its workplace risks being dragged in constant lawsuits which can lead to improper use of organizational resources. The costs involved in following discrimination lawsuits as well as the time lost could prove beneficial to the organization if utilized appropriately in other ventures. To add to this, gender discrimination results in negative working relationships at the workplace which can result in increased turnover thus high running costs incurred by the organization. These costs reduce the profits of the organization while adding to reduced levels of productivity (Gregory 17).

SOLUTIONS TO GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Since gender discrimination affects organizational productivity and safety of the employees negatively, it is important to develop solutions that ensure gender equality in the workplace. One of the excellent solutions to counter gender discrimination is through the strict enactment of the public policies such as Equal Pay Act of 1963 as well as the Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964 which are against gender discrimination at the workplace (Goldscheid entire). Several studies are consistent with the findings that strict enactment of such public policies has a positive impact on the elimination of gender discrimination issues in the workplace. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 mandate similar pay for similar work highlighting some exemptions although unequivocally barring an employee’s gender as one of them. The other public policy, the Tilt VII of the Civil Rights of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate an employee in terms of appointing, discharging, and compensating on the foundation of race, color, belief, country or gender. These public policies in addition to other policies can be employed by organizations to eliminate gender discrimination at their workplaces. They lay the groundwork for affirmative actions for gender discrimination behaviors which are common in the workplace and this can enhance workplace equality for the discriminated population (Gregory 4). For a workplace to achieve gender equality, it should emphasize on equal opportunities for all employees at all levels of the organization. For organizations to embrace gender equality, they must enact these laws and stern punitive measures taken against the perpetrators.

Another solution to gender discrimination dilemma is through assigning roles based on ability instead of gender. Instead of focusing on the common myth that females are generally more suited to the support type responsibilities while males are suited to leadership roles, organizations should note the contributions of all the employees regardless of their gender. Stereotyping among the organizational employees leads to major forms of gender discrimination in the workplace hence measures should be taken to prevent it from occurring. The hiring of new employees and the allocation of duties should be conducted on the merits of an employee’s abilities and skills, irrespective of their gender as well as the preference of the management, other employees or the clients. Additionally, employees must be informed of the existing gender discrimination regulations at the workplace for them to be aware of their roles in regard to reporting any cases they incur (Gregory 157). Gender should not be considered as a legitimate and protected cause for different treatments among the employees.

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In addition to the above solutions, elimination of individual experiences can greatly reduce gender discrimination issues in the workplace. Individualization of experiences refers to employees being dealt on a personal level and their issues being handled in isolation compared to grouping them when addressing them and it is a limiting factor in curbing gender discrimination. Victims do not realize that gender discrimination it is not an individual issue thus making it difficult to address it in group-based experiences which makes it easier to identify the perpetrators. Individualization of experience makes the victims imply that gender discrimination is a personal issue thus they deserve such bad treatments. Victims of gender discrimination should be encouraged to open up on their experiences in order for affirmative action to be taken against the perpetrators. Moreover, it will enable the organizations to develop novel strategies which can be crucial in dealing with gender discrimination at the workplace (Kelan 30).

In conclusion, contemporary organizations are faced with the problem of gender discrimination at their workplaces and employees are subjected to processes which limit their safety and productivity. Although gender discrimination is well documented in various studies, it continues to be experienced in workplaces. As stated by Neumark and Wendy (entire), this is because the majority of the organizations view their processes as well as norms as equal among the genders hence they ignore the fact that gender discrimination takes place in their workplaces. Gender discrimination at the workplace is prevalent among women especially women of color, pregnant women, and women with children. Gender discrimination takes various forms such as sexual harassment, race, religion, marital status as well as the state of the victim. Ideally, gender discrimination should be avoided at all cost in the organizations since its results to reduced productivity of the employees hence rendering the organizations unnecessary huge costs. Solutions to gender discrimination include strict enactment of the public policies and elimination of individual experiences at the workplace since this can lead to gender equality in the workplace.

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  1. Goldscheid, Julie. “Gendered Violence and Work: Reckoning with the Boundaries of Sex Discrimination Law.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2008, doi:10.2139/ssrn.1140246.
  2. Gregory, Raymond F. Women and workplace discrimination: overcoming barriers to gender equality. Rutgers University Press, 2003.
  3. Kelan, Elisabeth K. “Gender fatigue: The ideological dilemma of gender neutrality and discrimination in organizations.” Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences / Revue Canadienne des Sciences de lAdministration, vol. 26, no. 3, 2009, pp. 197–210., doi:10.1002/cjas.106.
  4. Neumark, David, and Wendy A. Stock. “The Labor Market Effects of Sex and Race Discrimination Laws.” Economic Inquiry, vol. 44, no. 3, 2006, pp. 385–419., doi:10.1093/ei/cbj034.
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