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“It is common for an employer to fire a pregnant woman. It’s okay for a woman to receive less pay. It is fine for a woman to be given fewer opportunities in the workplace, so on and so forth.”
Gender discrimination in the workplace has been one of the dreaded hurdles to success. While most women give in to the situation, others fight back to bring reforms. Sadly, the reforms still lack essence and structure. As a result of which, victims, especially women, continue to suffer.
So, what to do when a woman is constantly faced with workplace discrimination? You can’t obviously fire your boss or manager. In fact, you can’t even take over the system and reconstruct it from scratch but simply contact a lawyer to pursue legal actions. Or else, you can take note of the red flags mentioned below to understand how gender discrimination affects women in the workplace.
Decreased Mental Health
According to a study published in 2020, one in ten women suffers from depression due to gender discrimination in the workplace. This study was a survey based on pregnant and mothers parenting young children.
The authors went on to say that women who experienced gender discrimination had a higher depression score. This, in turn, proved that workplace discrimination is one of the factors why most women suffer from depression.
Not only this, but anecdotal evidence also suggests that constant rejection, fewer opportunities, and less pay combined with other factors lead to stress, anger, anxiety, and eventually poor mental health.
Constant discrimination on the ground of sex can also lead to decreased productivity. To put things into perspective, here’s an example. A woman works hard on an assignment but gets no credit for it. On the other hand, a man works hard on the same assignment, gets the opportunity to work on another important assignment, and receives appreciation. What do you think the women will experience?
As a reaction, she will feel demotivated, sad, maybe angry, frustrated, and underappreciated. Not only this, but it will also reduce her ability to perform better in the future. The drive to work passionately may or may not disappear, but low productivity will be a result of constant discrimination acts.
Discrimination against women in the workplace is a form of harassment. While few women raise voices to bring a change, others give in to the toxic male dominating culture. In fact, even those who rise against the odds often face backlash in the form of remarks such as ‘drama’ and ‘toxic habits.’
As a result, it becomes difficult for employees to comprehend the situation, or even worse, manage a team. Team focus shifts from handling projects to solving conflicts. And conflicts of any nature can never prove good for the teams and employees as a whole.
Gender discrimination also leads to overall decreased confidence. Imagine being ignored and underappreciated after working hard on several projects, delivering the best results, and performing well for five years in the same company. It’s hard to maintain the same amount of confidence, zeal, and enthusiasm to continue working in such a workplace.
Similarly, women, especially new trainees, who are not aware of the office culture or practices might find it difficult to work confidently when discriminatory actions are quite prevalent.
When gender discrimination happens regularly, it permeates into the working culture. People start feeling it, and more importantly, they start becoming a part of it. Even activities and office functions become a part of the gender-based discrimination culture. For example, lowering female participation in activities, allowing male and female employees to get coffee from different places to avoid conflict, different times for meetings to keep women employees out of it, etc.
This way, the morale of the team, female employees, and even supportive male employees goes down the drain. Overall, such discriminatory acts harm the company in its entirety.
Banter, conflicts, struggle, and the lost hope to fight against discriminatory practices can be taxing for health. So much negativity and the hopelessness to see a better future can easily pave way for a pessimistic personality.
Not all women give in to pessimism, but each mind works differently. And it is natural for a human to view everything from a negative perspective when they experience inadequacy on the gender front. In particular, women who are trying to avoid pessimistic official actions but somehow find themselves entangled in the same vicious circle repeatedly.
Any company, entity, or organization is a learning and evolving place for employees. Even the tiniest of fractures in the workplace can cause the employee’s over physical and mental health to deteriorate. Because everything that happens in the workplace is related to your life in some or another way. Avoiding conflicts is okay, but women’s discrimination in the workplace is something most companies, associations, and people need to work upon.
If you feel that the same is happening with you and no one in the company has been able to lend a helping hand, it’s time to take some action and get in touch with a legal entity. As for young women who have recently taken up a job, take note of all the points stated above and avoid these red flags at all costs.