Gender discrimination can be traced back in the time where men and women have a distinct role in their households. Women stay at home, takes care of the house, the children, and prepares for the return of his husband at night. Men on the other hand go out to look for food through hunting and gathering. This was the scenario that many would think as a typical “family situation” in the past, but what they don’t see is that gender discrimination is evident. This setting then placed men on a different level, where they are the ones responsible to work for the family. This leaves the women at home, doing household chores and taking care of their children. That was the situation in the past. Today, women are able to join the workforce. But unlike men, they are often discriminated, with positions or authority, with income and benefits, and so much more.
Education was also responsible for the gender discrimination in the workplace women are experiencing nowadays. This is because in the past, men were mostly the ones who were able to study. This gave them the qualification to be in the workforce, since education adds competency to those aspiring for jobs. So when women started joining the workforce, this concept regarding education has really affected them in getting positions in jobs, or even in landing one. This is one of the most important factors why women today are being discriminated in the workplace.
There is a difference between the gender discrimination in the past and of the present. One main difference is the increased competency of the women aspiring for work today, as compared to the women in the past. Women today have equal access to the resources that men have in qualifying for a job, while women before finds great difficulty in competing with men, since men before have the edge of education and some, social position. Nowadays, women are considered to be on equal footing with men when it comes to performance, competency and productivity, yet they are still getting marginalized, suffering from gender discrimination in the workplace.
Reasons for Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
There are several existing reasons why women suffer from gender discrimination in the workplace. The first one is the imprinted ideology in people regarding gender. Men are viewed as the principal bread winner outside the home, so they are the ones who should be in the workplace, and that women’s primary responsibility is to take care of their home and children.
Another concern is the sexual and reproductive rights of men and women. According to Wright, et al., “women are much more likely than are men to take advantage of the generous provision of parental leave on the birth of children…the real costs to an employer of paid parental leaves are likely to be much greater when these leaves are taken by managerial employees than by non-managerial employees, since an extended absence of a manager is likely to be organizationally disruptive (Wright, Baxter, & Birkelund, 1995).”
Another reason is that in the workplace, there is occupational sex segregation, where women and men are separated, thus widening the gap between them when it comes to competency and productivity (Wright et al., 1995).
In order to reduce or eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace, the company owners and leaders should set fair guidelines for men and women. Judge the person’s productivity and competency, not their gender. They should employ rules and regulations that would encompass both the men and the women. There should also be no bias in putting people in leadership positions in the workplace, whether they are males or females. They shouldn’t take into consideration a person’s gender when rating their performance or productivity in the company and in accordance to that, salaries and benefits should not be based on the gender, instead, it should be based in their output.
Gender discrimination affects business by reducing the efficiency of workers who get discriminated. According to Wright, et al., “A women’s movement animated by a liberal political culture, therefore, would be particularly concerned with equal rights and the elimination of such barriers (Wright et al., 1995).” Women who can really perform well would rather not give it their best since their efforts will not be recognized because of discrimination or bias. The competency and productivity of the workers would also be reduced, since they would think that their performance is not really the basis, instead, they are being rated according to their gender.
There are different reasons why women are suffering from gender biases in the workplace. But as the years pass, this gender inequality is slowly getting covered with excellent performances of women leaders and excellent performers. They prove that men and women are not to be judged according to their gender but by their performance. They are now getting the respect from company leaders, and the bias is slowly turning into equal working grounds for men and women.
Wright, E. O., Baxter, J., ; Birkelund, G. E. (1995). The Gender Gap in Workplace Authority: A Cross-National Study. American Sociological Review, Vol. 60(No. 3), pp. 407-435.