Despite laws and regulations designed to prohibit discrimination and guarantee opportunity, the origins of gender inequality are deeply ingrained in our society. While progress has been made over the years, there's still work to be done.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the statistics on gender inequality at work, and explore some of the reasons why it persists. We'll also discuss some strategies for overcoming these barriers and achieving parity.
Gender inequality at work is the term used to describe the disparities that exist between men and women in terms of their roles, responsibilities, and access to resources and opportunities.
Women are often paid less than men for doing the same job, are given fewer opportunities for promotion and advancement, and are more likely to be segregated into lower-paying occupations. Here are some statistics to illustrate this:
Given these facts, it is clear that addressing gender inequalities at work requires comprehensive solutions that address both the individual and structural barriers that women face.
While some of these disparities may be attributable to individual choices or qualifications, research has shown that they are largely structural in nature, reflecting long-standing patterns of discrimination and exclusion. Here we list some of the main causes of gender inequalities at work:
The effects of gender inequalities at work can be far-reaching and destructive. Here are some of them:
Here we list two famous cases of gender discrimination at work that will hopefully lead the way for more fair treatment of other women at work.
A female supervisor Lilly Ledbetter was paid less than her male co-workers holding similar positions at a Goodyear factory - and the discrimination lasted for over 20 years. When Ledbetter finally filed a complaint with the EEOC, the Supreme Court argued that she filed the complaint too late. She was told she should have complained when her first paycheck arrived.
Eventually, after a tough battle, Ledbetter won the case and received $3.3 million in compensation. Two years later, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which states that discriminatory pay or decisions can be filed as complaints without any time restriction. 7
Ms. Macken stated that she was a victim of sexist behavior by her boss when she started her employment at BNP Paribas bank branch in London. Ms. Macken claimed that she was often dismissed by him in a rude manner - he often replied to her requests by "not now, Stacey." As a result, many of her male colleagues also started using the phrase.
She also claimed that she was being paid considerably less than her male counterparts. Despite her experience and senior status, she received a £120,000 starting salary, while a male colleague who was hired with the same job title got £160,000, and received seven times more bonuses in the coming year. When she complained, her male colleagues left a black Halloween witch’s hat on her desk as a drunken joke.
Ms. Macken sued her employer and received compensation of over £2 million. This case has made headlines in the UK and raised awareness about sexism and unfair treatment of workers based on their gender. 8
Equal treatment of both sexes is not only important for employee morale, but it can also have a positive impact on productivity and profitability.
When men and women are able to work together on an equal footing, they are able to share ideas and perspectives more freely, leading to better decision-making. In addition, gender diversity helps to foster a more creative and innovative environment, as diverse perspectives are brought to the table.
Finally, as shown below, studies have demonstrated that companies with gender-diverse management teams tend to outperform their competitors.
Here are some figures that demonstrate the concrete benefits of equal treatment of both sexes at work:
While the business world has made great strides in solving the lack of gender equality, there is still much work to be done. For true gender equality to be shown in the workplace, these issues must be identified, prevented from occurring, and stopped at the source.
The first step in addressing inequality between sexes is determining the root of the issue:
Once you identify the areas of unfair treatment, take these preventive measures:
If you spot instances of lack of gender equality at work, there are a few things you can do to help combat it:
Despite women earning more college and graduate degrees than men and entering the workforce at higher levels than ever before, they still earn less than men in many industries, and they are often passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified male candidates.
Moreover, even though it's becoming less and less acceptable, sexual harassment and discrimination are still problems in many workplaces.
Finally, while the situation among white women is getting better, women of color seem to still be highly affected.
Lack of gender equality at work has a ripple effect that extends far beyond individual businesses or families.
When women are given greater opportunities in the workforce, they invest more in their children's education and health, which in turn leads to better outcomes for society as a whole.
Additionally, gender discrimination at work reinforces the idea that women are inferior to men and that their work is worth less.
Finally, unfair treatment based on gender can lead to discrimination against other women in the workplace, as well as discourage girls from pursuing careers in male-dominated fields.
For centuries, masculinity has been defined by certain traits and behaviors that are typically associated with men, such as being strong, tough, stoic, and unemotional.
There is nothing inherently wrong with these traits, however, they can become problematic when they are used to work against gender equality and excuse discrimination or violence against vulnerable groups, such as women of color or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition, this narrow view of masculinity excludes a large number of men who do not fit neatly into these categories. As society has become more accepting of different types of masculinities, the definition of what it means to be a man has become much more inclusive.
Today, masculinity can be whatever a man wants it to be, whether that is traditional or something entirely new. This shift is freeing for men and helps to create a more diverse and gender-equal world for everyone.
A gender-segregated workplace is an organization where people are divided into different types of workplaces according to their gender identity. For example, a women's only company or an all-male military unit.
The main reason for doing this is to avoid discrimination and harassment between employees of different genders. It can also be seen as a way to protect certain jobs that are seen as being more physical or dangerous for one gender.
However, there are also some downsides to consider. Gender segregation can reinforce sexist attitudes and stereotypes, and it can make it difficult for women to advance in the workplace.
2 Lorman, 2021. The State of Women in the Workplace 2021. https://www.lorman.com/blog/post/women-in-the-workplace-2021#:~:text=The%20inequities%20experienced%20by%20women,to%20automation%20by%20some%20estimates.
3 Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2022. Gender equality workplace statistics at a glance 2022. https://www.wgea.gov.au/publications/gender-equality-workplace-statistics-at-a-glance-2022
4 Office for National Statistics, 2021. Gender pay gap in the UK:2021. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/genderpaygapintheuk/2021#:~:text=Among%20all%20employees%2C%20the%20gender,down%20from%2017.4%25%20in%202019
8 HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Employment Tribunal, 2019. https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions/stacey-macken-v-bnp-paribas-london-branch-2208142-2017-and-2205586-2018