The main goal of business organizations is the provision of quality goods and services to consumers at an affordable cost. All business organizations include the administration and the employees who work together to achieve the goals and targets of the organization. When selecting employees to work in an organization, it is essential to ensure that they meet the requirements for the position they apply for. However, over the years, workplace discrimination has been due to increased diversity. Discrimination is evident during the selection of employees during a job interview. This has led to the selection of employees depending on their ethnicity, religion, culture, color, sexual orientation, and age, among other diversity factors. Discrimination has also been evident in workplaces when assigning duties and offering promotions to employees. One of the most long-lasting issues that are yet to be resolved is gender discrimination in the workplace, which mostly targets women. Prejudice, payment inequality, and sexual harassment are the main manifestations of workplace gender discrimination.
Reasons and History of Gender Discrimination
Women form part of the vulnerable groups of populations because of their susceptibility as soft targets in the male-dominated society. Though significant gains have been made to educate society about gender equality, the progress to accommodate women at the same level as men remains a great challenge. Contrastingly, most organizations still have more men in leadership positions than women because of an underlying stereotyping of the role, responsibilities, and the place of the woman in society. Women have continued to fight for emancipation, and today, the struggle has almost paid off, as seen in the significant gains made, especially in recognition of women as productive, intelligent, and independent members of society. Despite their vulnerability, women have become empowered and can now fight for equal opportunities as their male colleagues though challenges still abound on social acceptability.
In a highly patriarchal society, women have been emancipated to break societal stereotypes that relegated their roles and responsibilities as secondary and inferior to those done by men. Initially, women’s place in society was left in the kitchen and to attend to young ones besides childbearing, and they were never expected to share their views in the presence of men. Cultural persuasions contributed significantly to the limitations and abuse against women, thus greatly subduing their influence on the community’s social, economic, and political affairs, limiting their capacity to participate in any topical issue that directly impacted the people.
The economic development plans advocates for patriarchal society that undermines and impoverishes women in the society just like the colonial era. The economic projects such as construction of dams, establishment of industries and commercialization of natural resources such as forest displaces women from productive activities. The flagship projects in the developing nations that are sponsored by Western nations remove women from the control of productive land, forest and water from the control. The projects pollute water, soil and creates deforestation thus creating survival crisis for women who can hardly provide for themselves and their children. In every society, women are the main contributors to the children’s welfare. The driving values and principles for the economic projects are against women thus creating a passive patriarchal society.
Prevention of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
Around the world, governments and work unions have created laws to govern workplace activities to ensure no group is discriminated against. Most of the policies and regulations originate from three ethical philosophies: the veil of ignorance, the golden rule, and the theory of utilitarianism. Such policies and legislation are essential in ensuring that the employees have a pleasant working environment in the workroom. They also ensure that every individual has the right to participate in building a country’s economy regardless of race, religion, and sex.
People recognize consumerism as the fundamental doctrine of capitalism because they believe that they are not just workers or members of a specific religion, but they are primary consumers of the products in the community. The individualism has also grown through the adaption of consumers spending more in the acquisition of products so that the economy of the country grows and even though this process the government can control racial, economic and political injustices that may be brought by the use of trade unions. The civil rights movements of the year’s 1950s and 1960s have been the main reasons for the identification of consumer recognition through the claim of equal rights.
Conflicts and disagreements at workplaces cannot be avoided. Besides, they cannot be unintentionally disregarded. Unsolved disputes between employers and employees can result in antagonisms that diminish the productivity of workers in an organization1. Administrators and workers should ensure conflicts are resolved peacefully. One of the primary sources of conflict in workplaces includes discrimination.
Gender discrimination in the workplace can be evident in practices such as termination of an employee’s job, a range of harassment in the workroom, favoritism involved while hiring employees, and bias when offering promotion positions (Ferrell, 2016). Besides, employee discrimination in the workplace can also be due to the existence of abusive relationships between workers and employers. Such kind of relationship leads to the unfair assignation of job positions and even approval of work leaves. Thus, it is vital to ensure that all decisions in a business organization, such as hiring staff, assignment of workplaces, and termination of jobs, are based on the level of professionalism. However, some supervisors and managers judge employees in a discriminatory way.
Organizations have sought how to solve employee discrimination for years, with ethical policies acting as guides to deriving the solutions. In some organizations, employees and employers are involved in the discussion on how to resolve issues associated with discrimination. The organization has adopted this process of solving conflicts arising due to discrimination internally where the affected parties seek solutions by discussing among themselves2. Also, organizations have specialists who advise and counsel employees on matters related to prejudicial judgment. This method of seeking solutions cuts down on costs and prevents employers and employees from filing suits against each other. The ethic of reciprocity philosophy guides this solution-finding process.
Human resource management faces various challenges in trying to create a healthy working environment in a business organization. The challenges faced by the human resource department include multiple types of discrimination among workers in the workplace. Discrimination is defined as the act of treating fellow employees differently because of differences in gender, race, and ethnic background3. In the case presented above, the human resource management should conduct a conversation with the male co-worker and enlighten them about the significance of maintaining a positive working relationship in a business organization. The male co-worker should also be educated on the strategies that can enable them to achieve positive employee relations in the company. Finally, the individual should be told the various consequences that are associated with creating a hostile environment in the organization, including being laid off from their work. Human resource management, therefore, functions to enable the organization to achieve its primary goals and objectives by attending to the welfare of the company’s employees.
Protection of Employees who Faced Gender Discrimination
Some of these measures from the three philosophies include the establishment of policies, training, and documentation. Organizations have developed strategies that protect employees against discrimination in the workplace. They also ensure that the policies are strictly followed and enforced through continued review of the policies. Organizations have also created awareness among supervisors, managers, and workers by offering education and training.
Employees are also urged to respect each other regardless of the factors causing diversities among them. The administration in a business organization is also trained on how to deal with complaints about discrimination in the workplace. The response to discrimination should be swift and done with confidentiality. Companies and business organizations also have documentation regarding processes for solving conflicts arising from discrimination in the workroom. Some of the documentation can be used as evidence in a lawsuit in case the employee prosecutes an employer.
Gender discrimination in the workplace leads to a decrease in the productivity of workers in an organization and may deny some employees chances to serve at their level of professionalism. Discrimination may also force employees who are victims of discrimination to leave the business organization. These results of discrimination may affect the services offered by an organization amount of profits made in that business. Therefore, organizations should ensure all people are treated equally regardless of their differences in gender.
Dhanani, Lindsay Y., Jeremy M. Beus, and Dana L. Joseph. “Workplace discrimination: A meta‐analytic extension, critique, and future research agenda.” Personnel Psychology vol. 71 no. 2, 147-179, (2018).
Ferrell, Oliver C. “A framework for understanding organizational ethics.” Business ethics: New challenges for business schools and corporate leaders. Routledge, 15-29, (2016).
Goodman, Bryce, and Seth Flaxman. “EU regulations on algorithmic decision-making and a “right to explanation” arXiv preprint arXiv:1606.08813 (2016).
Mill, John Stuart. “Utilitarianism.” Seven masterpieces of philosophy. Routledge, 337-383, (2016).
Miller, Roger LeRoy. Business Law Today, the Essentials: Text and Summarized Cases. Cengage learning, (2021).
- 1 Miller, Roger LeRoy. Business Law Today, the Essentials: Text and Summarized Cases. Cengage learning, (2021), 61.
- 2 Ferrell, Oliver C. “A framework for understanding organizational ethics.” Business ethics: New challenges for business schools and corporate leaders. Routledge, (2016), 17.
- 3 Dhanani, Lindsay Y., Jeremy M. Beus, and Dana L. Joseph. “Workplace discrimination: A meta‐analytic extension, critique, and future research agenda.” Personnel Psychology vol. 71 no. 2, (2018), 150.