Discrimination at the Workplace

Women have been forming a considerable part of the US workforce for decades now. Their efficiency to succeed professionally has been acknowledged all over the world. Irrespective of this, gender discrimination in the workplace still continues in one form or the other.

With better opportunities, more and more women are opting for financial independence by working towards a stable career. Today, almost every field that was earlier touted as being men-only, has been pervaded by women.

If a woman qualifies on the basis of all the requirements of a profession, then there is no reason why there should be any discrimination. Although laws have been passed in most countries to provide equal opportunities for both men and women, the fact is that ‘women and the glass ceiling’ still exists.

The Concept Explained
• Most countries allow for equal opportunities for men and women through the federal laws. For example, the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, prohibits employers from discriminating against job seekers. It also protects discrimination against employees on the basis of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, and nationality.
• A recent study by the Census Bureau shows that women working earn 79% of what their male counterparts do. The statistics become more dismal with increase in hours of work.
• Outright refusal of employment on basis of gender is just one of the most blatant forms of exploitation of the right of each individual to work. However, the scenario seems to be even more complex. Many a time, women are refused benefits – monetary or otherwise, and other privileges that their male counterparts receive as part of the employment policies.
• Overlooking performance of employees while considering for promotion is a type of employment discrimination. This is often done on the ridiculous assumption that women are not capable of handling stressful situations and tend to be emotionally influenced when it comes to taking decisions as high ranking personnel in the corporate sector.
The Legal Considerations
• Even during recruitment, many firms prefer men to women employees, though most of them don’t divulge this attitude when they advertise for the job opening (as that is illegal too). This is mainly done on the pretext that the health care requirements and social responsibilities of a woman are different from that of a man, and this is often viewed as a hurdle against her performance.

• Federal laws do not allow discrimination, for example, if an employer refuses to hire a woman with children who she has to care for, but recruits a man with small children at the same position, this discriminatory behavior is accountable to federal laws. What fuels such sentiments of discrimination is the fact that a woman’s role in the society has always been as that of the caregiver in the family, and a working woman does not get any leeward in this responsibility.