Gender discrimination or sexism in the workplace may be a more subtle type of sexual harassment. But that doesn’t mean it is any less hurtful to those affected.
It can affect both men and women and lead to feelings of powerlessness and feeling isolated from your colleagues. It can also stop a person’s growth at a company. And at the same time increase the status of another person.
Occupational sexism is any form of discrimination against someone because of their gender, whether Woman or Man, that happens in their place of work. There are a number of reasons and theories as to why occupational sexism happens in the first place.
One theory is called the social role theory. This looks at the way by which women’s and man’s traditional roles were historically looked at within the home.
Traditionally men went to work and women looked after the home and the children. And the man went to work and earned the money to support the family. However, these stereotypes are gender-based and unfortunately, these attitudes still permeate society today.
Women are thought of as homemakers and caregivers. While men were thought of as providers and stronger in mind and body. So women were thought to be better as Teachers or Nurses and Men as Doctors or Accountants whereas, in reality, we are all equal to the task.
Types Of Gender Inequality in the Workplace.
Sexism in the workplace can be divided into two categories, namely:
This kind of sexism comes across as belittling. It makes women appear to be second-class citizens in the workplace. They may be perceived as being too manipulative, emotional, or inept.
While people consider some duties to be “women’s labor,” such as expecting women to take notes in a meeting when everyone has the same job title, this is an example of sexism.
Benevolent sexism manifests itself in more subtle ways. It’s the belief that women should be looked after while males should provide for them.
In the case of occupational sexism, this may mean that women are excluded from late work meetings on the grounds that they would rather be caring for their families and would not want to go.
Despite the fact that the general attitude is not disparaging and may even stem from a place of “caring,” it undermines the reality that women should be treated equally.
Examples Of Sexism In The Workplace
Whether it’s benevolent or hostile, sexism should not exist anywhere. When it happens in the workplace, it may not even be very noticeable. Some examples of sexism that do show up may include:
Putdowns As Jokes.
One of the most common forms of sexism happens in the form of jokes. Men may make comments that downgrade women because of their gender, but these comments are disguised as humor. An example of this may be a comment like, “Wear your short skirt to the next appointment and I’m sure you’ll close that deal”.
And it can be a double-edged sword. “Wear your tight pants and you will get the sign off at the next meeting.”
This occurs when there are different tasks at work, and people assign who they think should fulfill the duty based on stereotypical roles.
For example, if there’s a meeting and food is ordered, men may wait until the woman opens up the packaging as if it’s expected to be the woman’s role.
If there are comments about appearance, like body shape or the way a man or woman dresses that are associated with his or her professional abilities, then that is a form of sexism.
Another stereotype that happens is if a woman is assertive she may be called bossy. If she’s not as assertive as expected, then she may be called too emotional or hormonal.
It may happen that someone says something like, “Man up ” in reference to showing emotions, which is a form of gender labeling.
Devaluing Women’s Opinions:
When men talk over women or over-explain things to them. It could be a form of sexism. It may be showcasing the idea that a woman’s opinion is not as important or valued as a man’s voice.
Negative Effects Of Gender Inequality In the Workplace
The effects of sexism within the workplace extend far further in a woman’s everyday life. It can cause issues in terms of finances, can negatively impact mental health, career advancement, and can even put her in a dangerous place physically.
Women still earn less than males in many industries. Women are paid roughly 80% of what males are paid, despite the fact that they have begun to hold the same positions with the same levels of experience as men.
The remarks and attitudes towards women in the workplace can cause detrimental mental health side effects for women. It’s been found that women are twice as likely to be as depressed as men.
The Glass Ceiling.
If both a woman and a man are equally qualified for a role, it is possible that a man will receive the promotion simply because of gender beliefs or thoughts in the workplace. It’s obvious how unfair and wrong that is.
Physical and verbal Assault.
Sexism and the idea that women are inferior to men has led to sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. While all workplaces should have a very clearly outlined and documented policy against sexual harassment, it is all too often ignored.
Do your Part
From entry-level workers to managers, directors, and CEOs, we all have a responsibility to shut down sexism in the workplace.
Recognize your bias
It’s critical to challenge your mentality, even if it’s an instinctual response. Do you treat men and women in the same way?
Realize other people’s biases and call them out
You’ll probably become hypersensitive to other people’s unconscious bias if you get into your own thoughts.
Explain why the person’s statement was inappropriate if you feel comfortable talking to them directly.
If you are unable to be straightforward, inform someone else, such as an HR manager.
Trust your “gut”
You’re probably right if you believe you’ve witnessed or been subjected to sexism at work. Action is required. It’s the only way to get people to care about something.
Cultural shifts do not happen overnight, and each person and company may face new challenges. Make a commitment to recognizing and combating sexism.
Our workplaces have come a long way, but much more needs to be done. Starting today, you can make a difference in the workplace by assisting in the elimination of gender injustice.
Speak up instead of remaining silent and being complicit in the attitudes and behaviors you dislike. Make the decision to be a catalyst for change.
Change Starts with Us
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