Gender discrimination is one of the major challenges faced by both men and women at the workplace, although women are frequent victims of the same. It is defined as the unequal or unfair treatment towards individuals by their gender. It can also refer to the unfair perceptions towards various people in the society because of their gender, which in the workplace, can be attributed to factors such as income disparities between female and male individuals, customer or client preferences, and physical inability exhibited by either male or female individuals at the workplace. The world having undergone rapid evolution as well as cultural changes, it is expected that objectives and dreams such as eradicating vices including racial and gender discrimination would have been realized. However, the mentioned objective is far from being realized, and the greater the cultural changes witnessed globally, the harder it becomes for society to do away with challenges such as gender discrimination. The world is a few years into the 21st century, yet the issue of gender discrimination is becoming worse every day. In fact, in recent years, there have been several cases and reports around the globe about women being despised, undermined, and overlooked at the workplace (Bilkis et al, 2010). It also comes as a surprise that cases of gender discrimination targeting men not only in the workplace but other sectors are on the rise. As such, this paper seeks to discuss gender discrimination in details with a focus on its implications from a broad perspective, recommendations to help eradicate gender discrimination, and a new perspective brought about by focusing on the issue of gender discrimination at the workplace.
Irrefutably, gender discrimination is a phenomenon that is practiced in almost every part of the world, and this is as a result of outdated cultural beliefs that still insist on man’s dominance and control over the woman. Developed and stable economies such as the United States are hotbeds of gender discrimination, a perspective that has for a long time jeopardized economic growth in such countries. According to research, different employment sectors in the US are dominated by men, and this has gradually spread overseas to countries in Europe, Far East, Africa, and Latin America. Myriads of research and statistics indicate that by the year 1966, in the US, the number of female individuals forming part of medical professionals and practitioners was lower than that of male professionals and practitioners. Although the American society has undergone evolution over the years, the difference in the number of males and females in the workforce is of great concern. Several individuals argue that the refusal to integrate more women into America’s workforce has greatly played a significant role in compromising the country’s economic development (Bilkis et al, 2010). In fact, the lack of integration and inclusion of more females into sectors and professions such as the medical and health profession are potential risks to the sector and the entire American population served by the health sector. It is imperative for countries such as the US that lead when it comes to gender discrimination at the workplace should put in place or rather enforce greater and better utilization of human resources in a national perspective.
In the real sense, the under-representation of the female individuals in America’s health sectors is a likely indication that the entire country, right from its leaders have failed to recognize the importance and significance of female persons in the growth and development of the economy of the US. There are arguments about gender discrimination with experts arguing that the ability of countries such as the US to maintain their global leadership positions is greatly dependent on the willingness of the citizens as well as national leaders to recognize, stimulate, and integrate people from both genders in the healthcare sector equally. The productivity and efficiency of the global employment sectors will be compromises, and this is unless more women are included in the sectors (Hays, 2013). Besides, the modern world has changed a great deal, and this is because more female learners have joined institutions of higher learning so as to have equal opportunities with the male counterparts in the employment arena.
Implications of gender discrimination at the workplace
Gender discrimination at the workplace has several negative effects, both on men and women. One of the most common effects that result from gender discrimination is the loss of productivity. This involves the loss of morale or motivation among workers, and thus, they end up not doing their roles in their job areas as effectively and efficiently as expected. For instance, when men or women are discriminated at the workplace, their colleagues could end up enjoying and teasing them through jokes. The implication of this is that it could make the discriminated persons feel inferior, and at times, the jokes could serve the purpose of delivering a message that the work done by a particular employee is below par because either they are males or females (Hays, 2013). There strict laws and regulations that have been put in place to ensure employees are not discriminated against and that the loss of productivity at the workplace is completely eradicated. The other effect of gender discrimination at the workplace is that it could lead to employers and other senior stakeholders engaging in illegal practices such as promoting or demoting and employee by gender. Around the globe, it is a common experience that employers or supervisors make weird decisions that lead to the promotion of women rather than men. This happens because of the notions, perceptions, as well as selfish interests that male managers have with women. It also does not come as a surprise that managers may come up with decisions of promoting overqualified men in job sectors that have a large number of female individuals.
Gender discrimination at the workplace has another possible negative impact, which is the destruction or damage of facilities in the workplace (Hays, 2013). It is important to note that a discriminated person can feel unworthy before other employees, and this could result in the employee resorting to destruction as a way of response to the discriminatory personnel at the workplace. The destruction exhibited by discriminated workers includes physical violence and frequent conflicts with other colleagues, destruction of property at the workplace, or spreading rumors and untrue facts about another individual at the workplace. As such, there is a strong need and urgency to resolve the common practice of gender discrimination in the workplace and in any other sector.
Moreover, gender discrimination at the workplace has an adverse implication for perspectives such as productivity, morale, and performance. This is simply because gender discrimination results in the creation of legal issues and it also costs several organizations time and money. Research clearly indicates that employees that are not compensated fairly or appreciated are likely to showcase decreased productivity and loyalty. Decreased productivity and loyalty would then prompt a replacement of such employees, a move that can cost organizations a great deal of time and money impeding productivity, improved performance, and success (Bilkis et al, 2010). There is no doubt that the concept of “productivity” is directly related to morale, and this is why employees with high morale exhibit greater productivity as compared to employees with low morale. It is further argued that employees with low morale are often self-absorbed and are more concerned with the internal politics of the organizations they work for rather than customer needs and preferences, and this in the long run results in low customer satisfaction and compromised profitability.
Gender discrimination not only contributes to low morale but it is also associated with negative health outcomes for women in employment sectors. In fact, gender discrimination remains one of the key antecedents of stress among women, which in turn leads to maladaptive coping behaviors. It cannot be refuted that perceived gender discrimination is significantly related to higher reports of anxiety, depression, as well as premenstrual symptoms among women. Discrimination of women is always because of several characteristics and perspectives, and as such, it has an adverse impact on women’s mental and physical health. Once women are down because of mental or physical health problems, their productivity, moral, and work performance are all in jeopardy affecting both organizations and employees (Bilkis et al, 2010).
Recommendations for change
Every person in society today including men would be joyful if women had equal chances and opportunities as men in the workplace or any other employment environment. There is a greater need to do away with gendered attitudes, worker stereotypes and the misconceptions that people have against women in the various workplaces. In the recent years, women have exhibited an accelerated movement to the labor force. They have also capitalized on inclusion programs as well as company-implemented diversity to showcase their talents and abilities. However, the efforts shown by women in the labor force are neither recognized nor appreciated by male individuals. In modern society, women are farther behind men when it comes to top talents, which influence a person’s chances of recruitment at the workplace. Women are also of no match to men in terms of advancement, compensation, industriousness, creativity, efficiency, as well as career satisfaction. Inequality and gender discrimination remain entrenched in the modern society. In fact, the male generation is becoming more dominant than ever. Thus, it is necessary that women should have their places in the society, especially in the workplace. It is important to note or learn that there are limited methods one may take to prevent gender discrimination within the workplace. It has been learned that by taking legal steps when facing gender discrimination can be greatly effective and can play a significant role in the elimination of the vice that has become a common practice in modern society. Although taking legal action may be rather stressful and an expensive endeavor, filing a lawsuit may be the only recourse available when skill, performance, and responsibility are no longer adequate guarantees to ensure salary equality, hiring, or promotional opportunities (Hays, 2013).
Another strategy to address the issue of gender discrimination in the workplace is to ensure that women take part in the implementation of career advancement strategies such as inquiring about more advancement opportunities and being proactive (Hays, 2013). Through these, men and women will be at par in terms of employment opportunities, and as such, less motivation seen among women when they are surpassed by men will have been addressed. Women become increasingly frustrated when they realize that they are inferior to men regarding upper management position levels as well as earned salary despite that women implement the same advancement strategies as men.
For women to establish true equality within the workforce, they must work together to receive fair treatment based on their merit from their employers. Well-educated, dedicated, organized, and knowledgeable women can collectively disprove commonly wrong myths that are often utilized to rationalize and justify gender differences. Unfortunately, change will not occur unless women continue to persevere within their professional careers. This perseverance will greatly decrease gender discrimination and gender imbalances within the working environment.
Further, to address or solve the issue of gender discrimination, it is important for organizational leaders to change their perceptions and views on the capabilities and strengths of women in the workplace. Without a doubt, leadership remains one of the most important conduits of change, and a mention of leadership in organizations brings to mind positions and departments such as organizational board, CEO, the executive team involved in business transactions, and senior managers. To achieve equality for women in the workplace, the organizational leadership should try as much as possible to ensure that competency in the management of diversity is part and parcel of the organization’s objectives (Hays, 2013). It is rare to find natural competency among leaders to manage diversity. Thus, the most effective way of instilling competency in the management of diversity is through the reception of specific training. In essence, organizational leaders should be at the forefront in ensuring that gender equality for women is achieved in the workplace. Organizational leaders need or must believe in gender equality. Besides, they have to advocate for gender equality, and finally, they have to act as role models to the other members of their organizations. It cannot be refuted that once organizational leaders are strict and firm when it comes to the achievement of equality for women in the workplace, the prevention of the achievement of the objective of gender equality in the workplace will be impossible. In fact, the position and stand of organizational leaders must be taken into account when it comes to ensuring that women are at par with men in the workplace and other employment sectors.
As already mentioned, one of the most important ways of addressing the issue of gender discrimination is by having legislations that will illegalize the common practice where employers compensate men and women based on different stands for executing the same responsibility. Such legislation will also make it illegal to discriminate women at the workplace when it comes to job assignments, hiring, or promotion. For a long time, employers have insisted on paying wages based on gender differences, and this is one of the factors that have impeded the promotion of gender equality at the workplace. With gender discrimination laws in place, it would be illegal for employers to deny people promotion, job, or equal wages based primarily on gender.
In a nutshell, as discussed above, gender discrimination is seen as one of the major challenges faced by both men and women in the workplace. It is a practice where there is unequal or unfair treatment towards individuals by their gender. Also, gender discrimination is a practice where unfair perceptions are targeted at various people because of their gender. Gender discrimination has adverse implications for organizations as well as employees working in the organizations. One of the negative implications for gender discrimination at the workplace is the loss of productivity. Besides, gender discrimination can result in the destruction or damage of facilities at the work place. It is important to note that a discriminated person can feel unworthy before other employees, and this could result in the employee resorting to destruction as a way of response to the discriminatory personnel at the workplace. Moreover, it is important to note that the decline in the morale or motivation of female employees in organizations is as a result of gender discrimination, and this can interfere with organizational performance and productivity. However, doing away with the issue of gender discrimination in the workplace is a possibility that requires key interventions to be put in place. One of the most appropriate strategies for addressing the same includes formulation and implementation of legislations. It is also imperative for organizational leaders to ensure that women take part in the implementation of career advancement strategies such as inquiring about more advancement opportunities and being proactive. Another way out of gender discrimination in the workplace is to ensure that organizational leaders change their perceptions and views on the capabilities and strengths of women in the workplace.
Bilkis, A., Habib, S. B., & Sharmin, T. (2010). A Review of Discrimination in Employment and Workplace. ASA University Review, 4(2), 137-150.
Hays, N. (2013). Gender Discrimination in the Workforce (Doctoral dissertation, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo).