16 Jun 2023

Causes of gender inequality at workplace

Causes of gender inequality at workplace

Everybody believes in equality, but most people won’t follow it through. That means, in theory, equal opportunities are available to women at the workplace, however, there are many special factors that follow a woman’s life that are rarely taken into consideration.

As a result, there’s a constant gender inequalities seen in terms of the type of jobs women are offered and the kind of pay they are given.

Let us examine some glaring factors that directly lead to inequality between men and women at the workplace.

1] Unequal access to education

Even today, women around the world have less access to education than men. According to the United Nations, one-fourth of young women aged between 15-24 often may not get to finish primary school. The same study also states that two-third of all the illiterate people in the world are women. This directly creates an inequality for women at the workplace in terms of skills, and type of jobs available for them.

2] Jobs segregation

While in many jobs such as physical labor etc, men are better equipped than women due to their body structure. However, this distinction is often seen even in jobs where biological factors or physical strength are irrelevant. Even today, a large part of the STEM sector jobs is open and better paid for men than women, simply because women are not encouraged to pursue these sectors and excel. Similar discrimination is seen in leadership roles where somehow men are assumed to be better, as a result, women find it harder to climb up the corporate ladder, and hence get paid less.

3]  Lack of body autonomy

A report by the World Health Organization states that over 200 million women who don’t want to get pregnant are not using contraception. The reasons are lack of contraception options, cultural/religious factors etc. In short, in many parts of the world women do not have authority over their own bodies, a factor that directly affects their career choices, and progress at the workplace.

4] Religious restrictions

There are many countries around the world where religion still decides social norms, one of which is not allowing women the freedom to pursue interests or fields of their own choice. These women may go on to become talented engineers, data science experts, artists, singers, or doctors but they never get the chance to excel.

5] Racism and sexism

Women of color around the world find it harder to get and stay in jobs that require mental strength, intelligence, or creative skills. Similarly, women are not considered for Sales related jobs in many companies, or they get customer service jobs that pay less than other departments.

6] Absence or dearth of women-centric laws

Women’s well-being and their performance at their jobs has a direct bearing on how safe they feel. Apart from the soaring number of cases of violence against women, there’s also a lack of legal protections against harassment at the workplace. According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), USA, 78.2% if charges of sexual harassment at workplace were filed by women between 2018 and 2021. These factors adversely affect women’s ability to thrive in life and jobs.

7] Societal mindsets

Even when the employment structures are fair, and women get equal opportunities as men, there are societal mindsets that discourage women from progressing. For instance, even today, most men at the workplace do not like to take orders from a female boss.

There’s an acute need for more women representatives in the government to transform laws. In addition, societal mindsets need to change first and fast before structural changes. Women are built differently, but they are as intelligent and as capable as men are. They have the knack to contribute to the society immensely, all they need is a recognition of them as fellow human beings.