Sexism refers to prejudice or discrimination, which is faced by an individual because of his/her gender. Though the basic framework of the term is used for women yet, it is equally applicable to men. Discrimination basically relates to the belief that a person is superior to the other one. This mainly involved unfair treatment at the workplace, unequal compensation, sexual harassments and violence, etc. It is practised, which is adopted for behaving unfairly in the arena of job, promotion and another benefit on the basis of their sex (Lenhart, 2004). Under this practice, there are illegal grants, privileges that are being to people who are considered to be a part of the superior sex.
There are many religions and societies, which have played highly significant in fostering and increasing the level of gender discrimination. In the past few decades, the issue related to gender discrimination has become very serious. It is considered an offence equal to racial discrimination, and some countries adopt very harsh punishments for those who are charged with such issues. These are a king of stereotypes, which have been highly dominant over humans for a long time. It is mostly witnessed at the workplace and there are many activities related to gender discrimination, which might take place at the workplace that may relate to the position, job title, job description, hours of work, vacation, terms of condition for employment, etc. (Cotter, 2004). There have been many acts like equal pay act 1963, fair labour standards act 1938, Civil Rights Act of 1991, etc. which have been passed with an intention to handle the curial issue of gender discrimination.
The main focus of the following essay is to throw light on the aspects of gender discrimination in detail. This will help in developing a stronger base in relation to the specific subject along with getting knowledge about the rights that the people are embedded with who have to face seminal situations. In order to gain maximum information the concepts of gender discrimination, its types, its occurrence at the workplace and how to deal with such instances have been elucidated in the following section.
Gender Discrimination at the Workplace
Gender discrimination has been defined by authors in a different manner and these definitions have incorporated diverse factors and characteristics. The major aspects that have been explained by the authors in defining gender-discrimination mainly include workplace emphasis on the use of legal approaches for creating sex discrimination. In specific terms of the US, the concept is defined with the aid of two basic pieces of evidence. The first is the disparate treatment, which takes place when an individual is intentionally treated in an irrational manner by the group (Dipboye & Colella, 2005). The major example of these kinds of discrimination includes an unwillingness to hire females workers, reluctance towards their career-track positions, offering different salaries and asking different types of questions from male and female.
In relation to this broader concept, the definition has been given, which indicates that a specific group is affected by the procedures that are used by the organisation for making final decisions. If job-related decisions do not account for differentiated behaviour it is accounted as gender discrimination. There have been many studies, which have been conducted that clearly explicate and provide evidence for gender discrimination in the workplace. The problem is being approached with the aid of either of the two available ways. The first one is related to the decision that is made about the candidate or the workers who have the same performance and are alike in all fields except that of gender (Dipboye & Colella, 2005). The behaviour that is adopted by the decision-makers is taken in such a way that the women are treated at a disadvantageous position.
Other, relates to the organisational outcomes for men and women are compared. When these differenced have been observed they indicate that the differences are the artefacts of the pre-existing differences between the two sexes (Dipboye & Colella, 2005). There are ample instances and examples which can be covered under the aspects of gender discrimination which result in widening the definition of the term which can be easily summed up as any irrational behaviour, which an individual has to face because of the sex is gender discrimination.
Some of the major types of gender discrimination include sexual discrimination at work, pregnancy discrimination, homosexuality discrimination, relationship discrimination and housing discrimination. The sexual discrimination at work includes discrimination in organisational activities like hiring, promotions, paid and other types of discrimination in which women are treated lower than men (Daniels & Macdonald, 2005). There have been many laws which have been created to safeguard women but even then these practices are commonly witnessed in many organisations.
Pregnant women also have all rights just like her other co-workers but employers have made attempts to push females out of the job by treating them unfairly. This is wrong as it discriminates females on partial grounds because of physical characteristics. Along with the homosexuality community also have to face discrimination because they are not categorized fit for performing traditional gender roles (Daniels & Macdonald, 2005). They are highly susceptible to harassments and discrimination which they have to face both at work and outside work.
Along with this, women are also susceptible to gender discrimination not only at the workforce but also in their relationships. The traditional roles and duties, which the females are required to perform is also the reason for the high level of domination from that they have to face from their husbands. Women have to face a high level of dominance and have to face domestic violence which has its roots in genders discrimination. In relation to housing, also people have to face discriminations because of gender and sex (Daniels & Macdonald, 2005). Although the law makes it illegal there are many landlords who discriminate and deny providing housing services on the basis of sex. These are some of the major forms in which females have to face discrimination both at the workplace and outside.
One of the major forms of discrimination is sex discrimination in remuneration, in which women are paid less remuneration in comparison to their male counterparts. The reason behind this is that women are considered to be less efficient and capable as compared to women (Cohn, 2000). Even though women outperform their male counterparts they face the barrier of gender segregation that exists in giving employment to women in occupation, industry, and establishment. Also, there exists an unequal division of paid and unpaid work between men and women. They face the barriers of getting equality of work as there is under-representation of women in jobs with high ranked positions.
Women get employment in jobs that are in the narrower spectrum of the sector and are characterised by less than average levels of earnings. Women are concentrated in smaller segments where there are low levels of unionisation. They are over-represented in low pay segments, jobs that have status and in other atypical forms of employment (Cotter, 2004). It has been found a feminized communication provides low level of earnings to women in comparison to women. Even though women are highly educated the pay gap has always been high between the men and women. They also face discrimination because of their age, the higher the age the greater the gap in the wages they get in the organisation.
Women devote more hours of work than men then also they are paid less than their male subordinates. Women are found to be excluded from such positions where there is a high level of competition existing in the workplace as they are considered to be inefficient and incapable in handling difficult situations and make strategic decisions (Gregory, 2003). During the time of mid-20th century, women were not allowed to enter pubs, clubs and bars, and bartenders refused to sell drinks to women and other female visitors were restricted to purchase drinks and sit in the pubs. Women were not allowed to be publicly seen by other men outside their family.
An example that depicts discrimination of women at the workplace can be of Wal-Mart. In the company, women are not given adequate training and support from their superiors for the purpose of getting promoted to higher positions. The company practised discrimination against female employees and females were underrepresented in the positions of top management were not paid adequate salaries in comparison to the male employees working in the company (Thornton, 2010). This shows that it has become difficult for women to handle the discriminatory practices in the workplace. The paths of female employees are blocked for further advancements and career promotions. If the female employees raise their voice against this they are demoted to a lower position in the organization.
There are many reasons that keep women at a disadvantage in comparison to women. The most important reason is the perception of the society in granting social and political power to men. Men are given more power than women. The rights of women are violated by society and they are kept at a disadvantage in all the areas (Johnson, 2013). This has led to various types of violence being done against women like rape and other types of sexual violence that are being faced by women. They are faced with economic inequality as they are not found to be suitable for top management positions as they are not considered to be incapable of taking strategic decisions for the future of the organizations.
Women have to face challenges since their childhood and are believed to be suitable for an only certain type of professions and in some cases they are just brought up to be mothers and wives. This line of gender discrimination has been created from a very long period of time in which the exclusion of women has been established (Renata, 2013). It is the belief of the society that women are not suitable does be in the high powered corporate world. At the time of middle and high school years, girls are discouraged to take part in sports and other academic programs. They are less likely to be found in debates, maths and science; rather they are seen in other passive activities.
After their childhood period, they are encouraged to go for professions that are female-oriented like teaching, nursing, office administration, and caregiving activities. They are less likely to get a job in PhD related field as they do not have a first professional degree as they are not encouraged to go to the college for completing their higher-level studies (Cohn, 2000). Women have faced discrimination due to pregnancy. If she is not able to fulfil her responsibilities because of her pregnancy she is considered to be a disabled worker by her subordinates. Women also have to face the situation of sexual harassment in the workplace.
They are faced with verbal and sexual harassment both like offhand comments and isolated comments and teasing. These activities create a hostile environment and are de-motivated and refused for getting promoted if they do not accept any sexual favour at their workplace. They are even paid less because of their gender and are not preferred for such jobs that are highly paid and require posts of top management. Attempts have been made to abandon the activities of discrimination that are being faced by the females in every filed and even in society (Johnson, 2013). Regulatory bodies have provided various policies and laws that aim at providing equal opportunities to women as enjoyed by their male counterparts. There has been a provision of an act for handling violence against women to protect the various acts of violence and sexual harassment that is exercised at the workplace
- Cohn, S. (2000). Race, Gender, and Discrimination at Work. CA: Westview Press.
- Cotter, A.M. (2004). Gender Injustice: An International Comparative Analysis of Equality in Employment. London: Ashgate Publishing.
- Daniels, K. & Macdonald, L. A. C. (2005). Equality, Diversity and Discrimination: A Student Text. US: CIPD Publishing.
- Dipboye, R. L. & Colella, A. (2005). Discrimination at Work: The Psychological and Organizational Bases. Oxon: Routledge.
- Gregory, R. F. (2003). Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality. USA: Rutgers University Press.
- Johnson, M. (2013). Gender Discrimination against Women. Retrieved February 23, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/about_6398433_gender-discrimination-against-women.html
- Lenhart, S. A. (2004). Clinical Aspects of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination: Psychological Consequences and Treatment Interventions. Oxon: Routledge.
- Renata, R. (2013). Causes & Effects of Gender Discrimination. Retrieved February 23, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com/list_7420257_causes-effects-gender-discrimination.html
- Thornton, M. (2010). Sex Discrimination in Uncertain Times. London: ANU E Press.
Gender discrimination is one of the common problems of society. Females are being counted in the disadvantaged group in every sphere of social and economic activity attempts should be made in taking actions for the curbing the discriminatory practices that are being done against women. They should be given equal treatment at the workplace and other areas of society. They should be motivated and encouraged to stand at equal part with their male counterparts and given respect and recognition at the workplace.