Sex or gender discrimination in employment circumstances represents the biased attitude toward someone because of the gender during a job application, the process of working, and level of income. According to a survey conducted in 2017, women are five times more likely to state that they have received less income for doing the same amount of work compared to someone of the male gender (Gramlich, 2017). There is indeed a history of female bias regarding the employment process, harassment at work, stereotypes about female skills, and the spectrum of work they can do. Even though the problem of female rights lasts for several centuries, humans still face obstacles in its successful management nowadays. Whilst one side of the argument states that females are constantly facing biased attitudes at work, the other side underlines that women might sometimes take advantage of their gender when they want to advance their careers. This paper will further disclose the issue of sex and gender harassment in employment and provide a concise synopsis of the issue, its historical overview, opinions of both sides of the argument, and propose possible resolutions.
Synopsis of the Problem
The spread of the #Timesup movement founded in 2018 reminds of the fact that sex and gender issues at work stay up to date. According to public opinions and various research, females face unequal and sometimes based on stereotypes attitudes at work (Time’s Up, 2022). Females report that they are treated as incompetent, that they receive less support from leaders, and sometimes experience small slights at work. Women are concerned with the difference compared to men in the level of income. When applying to jobs, females are afraid that they can be rejected because of their sex. LGBTQ females state they constantly face discrimination at work, sexual harassment, and violence (SteelFisher et al., 2019). Similarly, men face biased attitudes at work when notice women taking advantage of gender to advance their careers using attractive appearances and sexual subtext in their actions. The issue impacts directly on such factors as job satisfaction, stress levels, and health conditions of individuals.
Modern society raises questions about gender equality achievement as it is essential from both moral and economic ways to solve this problem. Working ethics allows humans to feel protected and equalized in rights with other colleagues. Aiming for a pleasant and well-thought-of working environment that is free from bias, stereotypes, and full of respect, erases the borders of people’s uncertainty. The latter allows them to perform using all their potential showing excellent outcomes. That is why, from an economic point of view, it is essential to reach the absence of gender discrimination in employment. Positive competition between corporations leads to more successful development, growth, and progress of individuals and society.
Several centuries ago, the problem was born by conservative opinions toward women and laws preventing them from working and shortening their wages. For instance, in 1765, the first group of working females called The Daughters of Liberty was formed in the United States and protested against the Stamp and Townshend acts (Sweet, 2021). In 1769, the colonies issued a law prohibiting women to control their earnings (Sweet, 2021). The first man to bring the idea of gender equality to the White House was Abigail Adams, and many small steps were done toward female work abilities and rights after that action. However, the changes did not come fast, and, in 1933, the National Recovery Administration established decreased payments for women compared to men, even though both did the same work (Sweet, 2021). After the women’s rights movement in the 1960s, females achieved success in their long-term fight.
Currently, the legislation of the problem in the United States is based on various laws and protects individuals of all genders, ages, and ethnicities in the working places. The basement law of the issue is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits various types of bias in employment (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2022). The Equal Pay Act of 1963 protects gender-based wage discrimination (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2022). Thus, history presents a harsh but changing line of events leading women to equality and rights at working places.
Sides of the Argument
Most of the population stands on the female side confirming the ongoing discrimination of females in employment despite the robust laws in the country. People believe women face most of the bias, harassment, and stereotypical attitudes compared to men. The question is tough due to the historical background when women had to protest for centuries to get similar to men rights. Females majorly support the opinion about their discrimination at work and try to share their experiences with others in society so the concerns about the issue become more significant. The charts presented on the site of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2021) regarding sex-based discrimination remind us of the fact that the issue stays up to date. For instance, in 2021, cases of gender bias cost employers $150.4 million (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2021). The protectors of female rights consider that more actions from state representatives could have been done to ameliorate the current conditions of females at work.
On the other side of the argument, individuals state that females sometimes intentionally overuse their gender to achieve career growth. Using attractive appearance, sexuality, and sex, women are accused of acting contradictory to what they are fighting for. With such actions, some think that females encourage biased attitudes toward them. Moreover, the research implementing a gender-neutral approach in hiring females in economic departments did not show significant results in female sustainability in these places (Antecol, Bedard & Stearns, 2018). Indeed, not always females themselves want to take chief positions and compete with men as various factors might influence their decisions: family, children, and levels of stress.
Resolutions to the Issue
To prevent bias toward the female gender, various changes can be done in the process of employment. For instance, during the application, the company’s representatives of both genders should be present and express their opinion when decision-making. Each firm can organize a department responsible for discrimination at work. If some issues occur, the employer can try managing the problem and orient the workers in the right direction of mutual respect. The state is aware of the importance of sex and gender discrimination at work in the United States. Recently, the Biden-Harris Administration (2021) reported on a national strategy for gender equity and equality which involves improvement of economic security, preventing and responding to gender-based cases in the first place. Companies supporting the equality of genders with support from the state can achieve better outcomes in the future.
This paper disclosed the issue of gender discrimination at work and showed the long-lasting open question of female rights disbalances, various opinions of the individuals in society, and possible solutions. Females have grounds to keep fighting for their rights in labor as they have experienced a lot of troubles whilst interacting with the state and the other gender representatives. The problem has complex sub-questions as, on some occasions, women encourage gender inequalities by taking advantage of their sex. However, the latter does not let the problem stay unsolved, and, with the help of the state, significant changes can be done toward a better working environment and personal, and economic growth.
Antecol, H., Bedard, K., & Stearns, J. (2018). Equal but inequitable: Who benefits from gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies? American Economic Review, 108(9), 2420-41.
Gramlich, J. (2017). 10 things we learned about gender issues in the U.S. in 2017. Pew Research Center.
SteelFisher, G. K., Findling, M. G., Bleich, S. N., Casey, L. S., Blendon, R. J., Benson, J. M., Sayde, J. M., & Miller, C. (2019). Gender discrimination in the United States: Experiences of women. Health Services Research, 54(2), 1442-1453.
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Triana, M. del C., Jayasinghe, M., Pieper, J. R., Delgado, D. M., & Li, M. (2018). Perceived Workplace gender discrimination and employee consequences: A meta-analysis and complementary studies considering country context. Journal of Management, 45(6), 014920631877677.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2021). Sex-Based charges (charges filed field with EEOS) FY 1997-FY 2021).
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination questions and answers.