In 2017 we are seeing more and more women becoming CEOs, managers, team leaders and reaching the goals they have set for themselves. It would be wrong to claim otherwise, but however progressive the workplace may be becoming, women are still facing the sting of inequality, oversexualisation and old fashioned values in the workplace. Although there are many more strong, influential women in the workplace and in the society we live in, women are still faced with workplace grievances every day.
Sexual harassment is something that every woman will experience at some point of her life, this could be something as “simple” as being felt up in a nightclub, hollered at out of a car window, or propositioned in the workplace. Any comment regarding a woman’s appearance in the workplace is regarded as sexual harassment, and there is a full spectrum of workplace behaviours that are deemed as such. This spectrum ranges from a passing comment, to a full sexual advance. All companies have processes put in place to prevent people from experiencing this, but these formalities are often overlooked.
Sexual harassment is bad PR for a company and can cost them a lot of clients and customers, so any cases that are brought to the limelight will be settled quickly. For example the CEO of Hewlett-Packard lost his job after sexual harassment claims were made, which resulted in their stock share plummeting. Companies will do anything to silence the victims of sexual harassment, but don’t let them stop you from telling the world.
Almost 70% of mothers asked claimed that they had fallen victim to maternity discrimination in the workplace. Pregnancy can prevent women from progressing in their career, from getting a new job and from being given extra responsibility, and there is a whole spectrum of comments and actions that can be classed as discriminatory. Some of the most shocking cases are when employers politely force their employees to become stay at home mothers after maternity is over. Women in the workplace need to be aware of the signs of discrimination and to know their rights as a professional in the workplace.
Yes, in 2017 gender bias is still apparent in the workplace. It seems that older employers will assign roles that are “suited’ to their employees gender. For example, a male and a female colleague could be at the same level within the company, but an employer will ask the female worker to answer the phones, which would mean them assuming a secretarial role. It’s often assumed that men have a more developed sense of emotional intelligence when compared to women and this often means that they get tougher cases at work, and a more advanced workload. Many employees will simply accept these gender biased roles within the workplace, but it’s important to raise a concern with your employer directly.
Less opportunity to progress:
This is a point that follows on well from that of gender bias. Again, returning back to the notion that women have a glass ceiling within the working place, it is often the case that their male co-workers are deemed better equipped to lead, and are therefore promoted before women in the company. Men are seen as being more assertive, resilient and natural-born leaders, whereas women are deemed as being subservient, essentially they are better at following instructions and orders than making them. Although studies have revealed that less women have expressed the sentiment that being at a top position within a company would be too stressful, this percentage is dictating the reality for many more women.
(Bio: Alice Porter is an avid writer who works closely with the Dispute Resolution Lawyers to raise awareness for fair treatment in the workplace)