Career Woman

Gender discrimination: women are still combatting the workplace problem


Workplaces have for decades been rife with gender discrimination. Although some of us like to believe that gender is no longer a barrier, is that really the case?

According to Pew Research Center survey data, roughly 42% of women have faced gender discrimination at work. But in recent years, women’s rights have been taken more seriously than ever, and plenty of new initiatives are focused on feminism and raising awareness about equality.

While some of the biggest gender discrimination changes have involved female employment, roles are still routinely dictated by gender and societal expectations, and many disparities remain. For example, nursing jobs are traditionally filled by women, while some men tend to believe women aren’t capable of physical construction work. Although some of us like to believe that gender is no longer a barrier, is that really the case?

Tech is a traditionally male-dominated industry, but eight in ten tech companies are taking steps to reduce gender bias in the workplace, including major players like PayPal, GoDaddy, and Dell. In fact, many people believe that the notion of male- and female-dominated industries are slowly becoming outdated altogether, allowing more people to work in whichever sector they thrive in, regardless of gender.

Is gender discrimination still an issue?

With all that in mind, we take a look at whether gender discrimination and gendered roles are becoming things of the past.

More women are entering “male-dominated” fields

Industries, such as finance, engineering, and construction have long been considered career paths for men, and representations of these sectors often reinforce masculine stereotypes. In spite of this, more women are choosing to launch their own careers in these sectors, and for good reason. Working in these kinds of jobs can bring significant benefits, with Tradesman Saver pointing out that, in the construction industry, there’s “significant demand for people in this line of work,” and “women in skilled trades can also take home a higher-than-average wage”.

Since 1978, there have been more women entering STEM roles (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) than ever before. This time period has seen a 243% increase in the number of female test development engineers, 154% in automotive sales, and 133% in technical sales professionals. Gender discrimination research by global nonprofit Catalyst found that between 2016 and 2018, women’s employment increased by 5% in male-dominated industries, while a LinkedIn gender discrimination survey showed that, out of 568 occupations in the US, 23 had flipped to majority female in the past five years, with another 17 “catching up”. Although these numbers are far from groundbreaking, they’re certainly a step in the right direction.

Men are more willing to accept roles in female-dominated fields

The aforementioned LinkedIn report also showed a 4% increase in the share of men being hired in 26 female-dominated occupations, such as clinical data managers, ministry coordinators, and wellness consultants. Another study by CareerBuilder saw American men filling 30% of new jobs typically held by women between 2009 and 2017, including education administrators, interior designers and cooks.

“Women and men are sidestepping preconceived notions and crossing over into roles that historically have been heavily populated by the opposite sex,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer. “While there is still room for improvement in terms of finding balance, there seems to be less gender bias when it comes to hiring and choosing career paths.”

Recent studies also show that men who become unemployed are more likely to accept new roles in female-dominated fields, and earn more money than they did in their previous job, at an average increase of 4%. This is as a result of “female” roles being deemed more economically viable in some cases, though this is not a universally applicable rule, with only 13% of American nurses being men.

The gender discrimination employment binary isn’t over just yet

While there has been some pushback against the concept of gendered roles, far more needs to be done before anyone can truly say that employment is equal for all. For instance, the aforementioned Catalyst study also showed that 26 out of 30 of the highest-paying jobs in the US are male-dominated, and 23 out of 30 of the lowest-paying roles are female-dominated. This goes to show the massive differences between men and women in the workplace.

And unfortunately, women in the technology industry are still paid less than their male counterparts in most states, with a salary difference in some regions as high as $16,000. Furthermore, jobs requiring a skilled trade, like mechanics and automotive technicians, are filled by so few women that it’s impossible to accurately compare earnings between genders.

What’s more, men still take centre stage in senior management, with women only filling 13% of senior roles. This is despite the fact research suggests that companies are often more profitable with female leadership. Women face challenges including traditional societal expectations about their abilities and pervasive stereotypes which view them as only ‘housewives’ or ‘stay at home moms’. There’s also a lack of career development and mentoring for women in these industries, as well as 49% of women reporting problems with sexual harassment.

Overall, the statistics suggest that gendered roles are slowly fading into the background, but the situation is still far from perfect, and the landscape still requires change and constant reevaluation.

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Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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