Causes of Gender Inequality in the Workplace

KAJAL THARWANI

10th Mar'22
Causes of Gender Inequality in the Workplace | OpenGrowth

“Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.”- Frieda Pinto.

Let’s face it: from giving birth to a child, managing a family, preparing food, raising a child, trying to find time for exercise and friends, women do everything without complaining. A woman has to prove herself each day, and still, she is treated as “less than” in the workforce. Despite juggling with all the crazy life demands, women make the world go round. 

Although, over the years, the world has gotten a bit closer to achieving gender equality. Now there is a better representation of women in politics, more economic opportunities, and better healthcare in many parts of the world. However, according to the World Economic Forum, it will take another century before gender equality becomes a reality.

What do you think? What drives the gap between the genders? There is not one but many reasons for it. As always, I am here to clear this confusion for you. I will tell you about gender inequality and the causes of gender inequality in the workplace.  

Less Promotion

Gender Inequality 

Women, especially women of color and LGBTQ+ women, continue to face barriers, insensitive questions, and offensive statements. Despite having a federal law against gender inequality and decriminalization, it creeps into the workplace. While some progress has been made, gender inequality continues even today. 

 

Causes of Gender Inequality at Work

With increased publicity and discussion around the inequalities women face in the workplace, there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done to close the gender gap. Here are some of the major causes of gender inequality in the workplace.

 

Unequal Pay 

Are women equally paid for their work? No! According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “ women earn 49 cents for every dollar men earn.” Even women have to take time off from work or leave work to shoulder the demands of raising children or other family obligations. More than half of women leave the workforce within a year, which is twice the rate of men.

Unequal pay is a situation where women are paid less than men for doing the same work. Although American women are more educated than men, still women in the U.S workforce earn less than their male colleagues. The gender wage gap is real and it hurts women across the board by suppressing their earnings and making it hard for them to balance work and family.

 

Sexual Harassment 

“Sexual harassment in the workplace confuses rewards for performance with rewards for attractiveness and sexual availability.” Sexual Harassment is the biggest threat many women face in the workplace. According to a survey by a non-profit organization, Stop Street Harassment, “38% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and 81% reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment in their life that includes verbal and physical assault.”

Although the #MeToo movement has helped to bring light to the issue. It focused on the experiences of sexual harassment survivors and earned a large response. Sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviors as:

 

  • Uncomfortable physical contact.

  • Demand for sexual favors.

  • Sexually colored remarks.

  • Showing pornography.

  • Unwelcomed physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature. 

 

Less Promotion 

Yet, being more educated and hard-working, women are less often promoted to higher positions than men. Gender biases work against women on the professional front.

Historically, it was believed that men belong at work and women belong in the kitchen. This resulted in men dominating the workplace, which has resulted in the underestimation of women’s talent and hard work.

According to Catalyst.org, “Not having a visible role model can make women feel as if moving into a leadership-type role is simply unattainable.”

 

Bias Against Mothers 

Giving birth to a life is the greatest gift given by nature to a woman, but sometimes it impacts the professional life of women. A working mother is expected to work like she doesn't have a kid and raise a kid as if she doesn’t have work. Therefore, this is the root cause of gender inequality in the workplace. 

Motherhood makes women choose between work and family, and eventually, a woman leaves work and chooses family. According to a study published in the American Journal of Sociology, “mothers are 79% less likely to be hired 100%, less likely to be promoted, and are offered a lower salary.” 

The conclusion is that it is believed that a woman’s dedication to family and childcare makes her less committed and unable to put in long working hours compared to her male colleagues, especially at high-level jobs. 

Gender bias

Job Segregation

Job segregation is one of the major causes of gender inequality in the workplace.  In society, it is believed that men are better equipped to handle certain jobs.

Fun fact: People think that the highest-paid jobs are the jobs that men handle the best. This discrimination leads to lower incomes. Women work more but get less recognition and wages. 

 

Steps to Eliminate Gender Inequality in the Workplace 

Every woman, once in a lifetime, experiences gender inequality in the workplace. But as we say, every problem has a solution. We can begin to make a significant difference in bridging the gap. We can start by implementing the below pointers:

  • Educating the employees about unintentional gender bias.

  • Appointing diverse interviews to hire more deserving women in top positions.

  • By making salaries transparent and equal.

  • Giving employees the flexibility to work.

  • Empowering women through sessions. 

  • Taking care of their mental health. 

  • Offering paid parental leave. 

  • Giving honest feedback to leaders on their gender bias attitude. 

 

Conclusion 

Gender inequality is a real issue and hurts women across the globe. Some women face gender discrimination based on their gender, while some of them face, in addition to gender, inequalities relating to sexual orientation, caste, and class. The workplace needs to acknowledge these complex layers and make systematic changes to support women across the organization.

 

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An explorer who takes risks and learns from her mistakes. An aspirational content writer, studying social work. Kajal loves trying her hands in different crafts.

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