How Gender Discrimination Affects the Roles and Wages of Men and Women in the Workplace
We are well into the 21st century. The world is no longer a world of men working and women staying home with the children. There are two-income families, single-parent families, same-sex parents, and families without children in today’s world.
Men and women can work almost any job they wish to work. There are women in construction and men working as nurses and preschool teachers. Many women own businesses that cater to all people and industries. Some men choose to be the stay-at-home parent to care for children and the house while their wives work.
In such a diverse world, you would think that men and women are equal at work. You would think the gender wage gap has been closed, and everyone receives equal pay for equal work. However, gender discrimination and sex discrimination are still present in the workplace. As a result, the workplace is filled with sexual harassment, gender discrimination, assigned gender roles, and a gender wage gap.
What Is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace?
Gender discrimination in the workplace occurs when men or women are targeted for negative employment decisions based on their gender or sex. They can experience verbal, physical, or visual discrimination.
- Gender or sex discrimination in work can include
- Making fun of men or women at work,
- Sharing derogatory jokes based on gender,
- Making sexist comments,
- Sexual harassment,
- Providing sexual gifts,
- Unequal pay based on gender
- Targeting members of the LGBTQ community for sexual harassment and discrimination
- Gender identity discrimination
Men and women in the workplace may speak out against the gender discrimination they are experiencing. However, many times they are fired from work, demoted, refused a promotion, or face other forms of workplace retaliation.
How Does Gender Discrimination Lead to Men and Women Receiving Different Treatment at Work?
Sometimes, gender discrimination is blatant. It may come from a conscious or unconscious bias. It may come from the idea that women are weaker than men or men are not as good with children as women (two common biases relating to gender). In these cases, men and women may get denied an employment opportunity simply due to their gender.
For instance, if a man applies for a job as a preschool teacher, he may get looked over for an interview. The school may believe that a man would never make a good preschool teacher, and parents would be taken back by it.
In the same vein, a woman may apply for a job as a foreman in a construction company. The company may skip her resume because they do not think women belong on a construction site, least of all as the foreman.
In other cases, gender discrimination is more discreet. For instance, the men may always get asked to move furniture and boxes within a workplace. On the other hand, women may always get asked to make something for the company picnic while men get asked to bring beer.
How Does Gender Affect Wages in the Workplace?
Many people have heard of the gender wage gap. According to the gender wage gap statistics for 2021, women are paid .82 cents on every dollar a man earns. The question is whether this gender wage gap is the result of violations of the Equal Pay Act or because of other factors relating to employment and wages.
Some statistics indicate that women earn less than men because they do not negotiate for higher salaries when they start working. They may be more likely to accept a salary offer as presented than negotiate for more money from the beginning. As a result, their raises (even if they were the same percentage as their male counterparts) would be less than a man’s raise.
Other people believe the gender wage gap may result from employers requesting salary histories from potential employees. As a result, they base a job offer on a past salary. If a woman earned less than a man in other positions, her job offer would be lower than a man’s. Many states have addressed this issue under a salary history ban.
Finally, many employers offer women less money because they think women will be less available for work than men. They see women as the main caregiver in the home. They think women will be the ones to take time away from work to handle issues with children they currently have or may have in the future. They believe women may be likely to take maternity leave, requiring them to take extended time from work.
Whatever the reason, these beliefs are part of the problem when dealing with sex or gender discrimination.
Is Equal Pay Directly Related to the Gender Wage Gap?
The gender wage gap specifically targets women in the workplace. However, unequal pay can affect both men and women at work. Unequal pay means that an employee is not offered the same salary for the same experience and job.
For instance, if a man and woman apply for the same position within the same department, have similar work experience, and apply at the same time, they may both receive the position. However, the man is offered less than the female. The company is owned by women and wants to show value to women. The salary offers violate the Equal Pay Act, even though the man was offered less than the woman.
The EPA protects all employees (male or female) who are not offered equal pay to their similarly situated coworkers who are of a different sex. It specifically protects employees from gender discrimination in wages.
What Should You Do If You Become the Target of Gender Discrimination at Work?
Unfortunately, gender discrimination is more common in the workplace than many people realize. It can happen to men and women in the workplace in any town and at any time. It targets employees and job applicants in retail, the restaurant industry, professional offices (accounting firms, law firms, bookkeeping offices, tech companies), shipyards, construction sites, and more.
However, just because these actions are common does not mean you need to accept them and move on. If you experience gender or sex discrimination at work or violations of the Equal Pay Act, you have a right to consult an employment lawyer. Your lawyer can help you file your complaint in the proper court or agency within the proper time frame required by law.
Furthermore, your employment attorney can help you collect any evidence needed to help prove your claim, including witness information, time, date, and place of the incident, the details of the incident, and everything you did to help make your employers aware of the incident.
Finally, your lawyer will stand by your side as an advocate throughout your case. They can negotiate a settlement early with your employer. However, if needed, they can help you fight your employer in court to receive the justice you deserve.
Over 25 Years of Experience Exclusively Focused on Employment Law and Gender Discrimination
If you experience sex or gender discrimination in the workplace, you need an employment lawyer you can trust. The employment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles can help. Call us at 800.807.2209 for a free consultation.