Gender inequality and workplace harassment are big problems worldwide. Some organizations are trying to fix it, but we all need to work together to stop it completely.
Victims of gender inequality and harassment suffer poor physical and mental health. Women are more likely to suffer from gender discrimination as compared to men. A survey found that women are two times more likely to suffer sexual harassment than men. Discrimination causes various psychological concerns, including stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gender Inequality in the Workplace Definition
Gender inequality means unfair differences between men and women. And this can affect things like power, jobs, and money. When these differences are obvious and unfair at work or in other places, it’s called gender inequality. It also means treating people badly because of their gender.
Gender inequality happens on purpose or by accident. Sexism is a big reason. Sexism treats women and feminine qualities as less important than men and masculine qualities. It also comes from old company rules, not understanding the laws, and personal beliefs.
Gender inequality takes place when your company encourages the following behaviors:
- Unequal pay for comparable roles
- Unfair consideration of needs
- Higher rates of unpaid work
- Lack of opportunities for promotion and career progression
Gender Inequality Challenges at the Workplace
Getting paid less for the same job is a clear example of treating people unfairly based on gender. But there are other problems people face at work because of their gender too.
Women often face unfair treatment because of their gender. They have a hard time getting top jobs even if they are good enough. People also say hurtful things about their gender, race, and who they love.
Various ways gender inequality can manifest include:
- Unequal pay: Sometimes, men get paid more than women even if they do the same job and have the same skills and duties.
- Unfair recruitment: Suggesting in the job spec that the role is more for a specific gender is gender bias. All the candidates need a fairground to show their capabilities.
- Biased against mothers: Women of childbearing age are less likely to get higher employment roles or callbacks from hiring managers. They see them as less likely to put in extra hours due to their devotion to family and childcare.
- Unfair career opportunities: Some job promotions are easier for men to get than women. While women are often not chosen for higher positions like managers as much as men.
- Obvious bias: Showing obvious bias in how you treat female employees compared to males. This could be evident in day-to-day conversations and promotions.
- Higher burnout in women: Women in higher positions often feel very tired and stressed out, more than men. So, the get burnt out more often. This can make them take jobs that stop their careers from growing.
- Sexual harassment: This means behaving inappropriately towards coworkers, whether they’re men or women. Unfair pay and job opportunities can also lead to this kind of harassment for women.
- Racial discrimination: Women of color often deal with unfair treatment more than white women. They also face rude comments and interruptions during speeches.
Types and Impact of Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment occurs when people in higher positions belittle and harass their juniors. It can also happen in the form of bullying, mobbing, and aggression.
It’s important for employees of both genders to learn about workplace harassment. And they should also learn what measures to take if they experience any. Workplace harassment takes many forms. It includes:
- Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment takes the form of inappropriate sexual advances, comments, or assault. Women are the primary victims of sexual harassment at work, with 25% to 85% likely to suffer.
- Physical harassment: Physical attacks, threats, and assault are other forms of workplace harassment that some employees go through. For example, when a manager slaps an employee, it is physical harassment.
- Psychological harassment: Psychological harassment is when someone at work makes another person feel small or worthless. It can make people stressed and worried. Thus, making it hard for them to do their job.
- Personal harassment: Personal harassment is when someone treats you badly because of how you look, what you can do, or how you act. It includes comments or actions that upset you because that was the intent.
- Power harassment: This happens when a person holding a higher position looks down on or bullies their juniors. Such harassment mostly comes from supervisors and managers.
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment: This is when someone in charge offers something important to their employees in return for sexual favors. It’s a type of sexual harassment.
Ensuring Safety and Security for All Employees
Gender discrimination and workplace harassment remain big issues across the globe. However, it doesn’t have to be an issue in your company. Your business must implement workplace safety and security protocols to tackle this issue and make your company a safe space for everyone. Here are three steps to take:
Work on your policy
Does your workplace have rules against unfair treatment or harassment based on gender? If not, it’s important to create them. And if your existing rules are old, it’s time to make them better and address new problems. Hence, good, clear rules will help everyone know how to behave at work.
Having good, clear rules is like having a map. It shows everyone the right way to act at work. It helps people understand what’s okay and what’s not okay. So, making sure the rules are fair is really important. It helps everyone get along and feel safe at work.
Train your staff
When we grow up, we learn things and sometimes, those things can make us treat others unfairly. That’s why it’s crucial to change those thoughts, especially about our colleagues, regardless of their job or whether they’re a man or a woman.
We can teach people about gender harassment, which is when someone is mean to another person because of their gender. We can also teach about unfair treatment, which is when someone isn’t treated the same as others. It’s important to show everyone how to stop these things from happening.
And if someone feels upset or hurt at work, it’s really important to help them. We should encourage them to talk to someone they trust, like a manager or a friend, about what’s happening. This way, they won’t feel alone, and others can help make things better. Working together, we can make sure we treat everyone kindly and equally.
Provide a safe environment
Many times, when people suffer unfair treatment because of their gender, they don’t say anything because they don’t think it will help. Sometimes, they worry they might lose their job or face even more problems if they speak up. Feeling alone and not getting help can be just as hard as the unfair treatment itself.
That’s why it’s really important for companies to make a way for people to complain if something is wrong. This way, those in need can tell someone about it without fear. Companies should have a system where people can share their concerns formally.
And if they don’t want others to know who they are, they should be allowed to stay anonymous. This means they can talk about the problem without worrying about what might happen to them. Creating a safe and anonymous way for people to speak up can make a big difference.
The concept of human rights and equality in social, economic and political rights, duties and opportunities, turning the inequality mark between men and women.
Impact of Workplace Harassment and Gender Inequality on Mental Health
Being treated badly at work harms both your body and mind. It makes you very stressed out, which can mess with your mental health.
Because of harassment, many workers get very worried and stressed out. It’s tough for them to do their jobs well when they suffer constant bullying and fear.
Many people who get harassed at work experience different kinds of mental health issues, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
Treating people badly because of their gender can affect their mood. Plus, it can also cause mental health problems and other serious issues. Women who experience harassment and gender bias are 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than men.
If someone is sexually attacked, they might become pregnant or get infections. Also, people who suffer unfair treatment at work might leave their jobs and become poor.
For example, let’s say someone loses their job due to harassment. This means they might struggle to pay for important things like food, housing, and education. This hardship also affects their children and family members.
In places where men and women get treated equally, fewer people feel mentally unwell. This shows that treating people badly because of their gender is a big cause of mental health problems.
Gender bias and harassment don’t just affect the person, but also the whole community. It starts with one person, but its impact spreads to everyone. For instance, let’s say victims leave their jobs because of harassment. This can lead to poverty that affects not only them but also their families and the community.
In such a case, children might not have access to proper education or healthcare, and families might find it hard to make ends meet. This situation doesn’t just create difficulties for one person. It ripples out and affects other people in the community. That’s why it’s crucial to stop gender bias and harassment.
Everyone, no matter their gender, should work together to stop harassment and unfair treatment. We all need to create a society where equality is the norm, no matter their gender, power, or where they come from.