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Bias Against Women and Discrimination in the Workplace


Name it glass ceiling, or shrug it off as a figment of imagination of feminists, but the fact remains that there ‘IS’ BIAS against women. Discrimination in office is just a tip of the iceberg, women across the world have to struggle against unsympathetic minds of men in every walk of life.

I don’t know whether you are a man or woman, whether you ever faced or saw bias against women, discrimination or favoritism in the workplace or anywhere else and whether you would agree with me or not, but I am pretty sure that you would definitely agree in unison, that half of the world’s population should not be considered in any way inferior or superior to the other half, just on the basis of anatomy.

Though, feminism and its very vocal envoys cry foul at the status of women in the world, I for one have stopped banging my head on the wall. I have just accepted the fact that the God, the Supreme One, the Almighty, call him by any name, is a male. If He is not a male, then how come all the difficult tasks (read from PMS to childbearing) landed up on women’s lap? Hmm… this issue is pointless as it can not change a single fact about the reality of women. What actually boils my blood is that even in 21st century, women’s rights are in fact a struggle, not a fundamental right.

It’s been years since Equal Pay Act (EPA) abolished wage disparity on the basis of gender, but then why do we hear of women being paid less than their male counterparts for the same amount of work. If Lilly Ledbetter, at the end of her career can fight for her legal wages; when a female liquor clerk in the state of Illinois can file complaint against her bosses for her due earnings; then we can at least ponder on discrimination in the workplace on the basis on gender and other related issues.

Discrimination on the Basis of Gender

Gender discrimination at workplace can be defined as an unjust treatment of an employee on the basis of gender, resulting in less or no compensation, remuneration, promotions, job evaluation, recruitment, training or other employee benefits and excessive disciplining, or subjecting to unfair rules.

The phenomenon of women facing invisible barriers in the growth of their careers is termed as glass ceiling. Many times, passing over for promotions becomes a norm for working women. A few decades back, the situation was so bad that the higher the post, it was less likely to be occupied by a woman. There are many obstacles which makes the career growth of educated, skilled working women, slow and uneven when compared to their male peers. These barriers are:

  • Being sidelined from the informal networks and communication channels in the workplace.
  • Getting harassed, either physically or mentally.
  • Facing bias in the form of stereotypes, prejudices about women’s role, commitment and leadership role or style.
  • Uncooperative organization culture.
  • Lack of role models at the peak levels.

Bias Against Women and Glass Ceiling

People vehemently articulate that the difference between wages of a man and woman for the same amount of work and equal professional position is slowly bridging. Or so they think!

My point is: this wages gap is not reducing fast enough. Everyday, you and me lose out our hard-earned deserving money because of inertia of people who matter. So, it does not come as a surprise that retail giant, Wal-Mart is being sued for gender discrimination by thousands of its female employees. This lawsuit is being hailed as having gigantic repercussions in the history of employment discrimination. Here are some gender discrimination statistics and facts that would elucidate my points.

  • According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, working women get 15.4% less than what men get for spending 41 to 44 hrs in the office.
  • If you are thinking about putting in some overtime to earn some extra cash, then here’s bad news for you. Quoting the above source, women who work more than 60 hrs and so, get even lesser pay than men in the same job category. It is estimated to be 21.7% less than what men earn.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives around 15,000 complaints of sexual workplace harassment every year.
  • A telephone poll done by Louise Harris and Associates sheds light on sexual harassment and discriminatory actions against women in a work environment. Out of 783 workers interviewed, 43% of the women were harassed by their supervisors and 27% by superiors. Colleagues of the same level harassed 19% of these women and 8% were victims of harassment by a junior employee.
  • Employers have come up with excuses like recession, low productivity, etc. to let go of those employees who are on the family way. Ironically, even employers in maternity stores don’t prefer to hire or keep expecting women which is a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. This Act considers bias and discriminatory behavior against women in the workplace based on pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy related issues unlawful.

World Economic Forum gives the credit of bridging gender gap to none of the countries in the world. Though a considerable improvement have been made regarding women’s issues, there is still a long way to go for complete elimination of gender discrimination, particularly in the workplace. Women taking legal action against their firms have to abide by the EEOC rules to get justice. It requires them to file a compliant with EEOC within a stipulated time period, for their case to have a valid claim under the EPA Act. Therefore, do not stall or be afraid if you want to seek justice.
Read more at Buzzle:

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