No Place for Discrimination

Women discriminated in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace, whether it’s to do with gender, religion or sexuality, is no joke and isn’t something that should be handled lightly. In the workplace, women are frequently subjected to discrimination by their peers and superiors in various different ways. Discrimination can be as subtle as an exclusion from an important project, or as blatant as sexual assault. Despite how minor or insignificant you may feel that the discrimination towards you is, there are laws set in place to ensure your happiness and safety in the workplace.   

How women are discriminated against in the workplace:

Women are more likely to be judged on their physical attributes, looks and how they decide to dress than are their male counterparts. Women are not only discriminated against for being “pretty” or “attractive”, but they can also be victimised for not being attractive enough, or in some positions, for not being sexy enough.

The “glass ceiling”, is a term which refers to the prevention of women from being able to become as successful or senior as their male co-workers, this derives from the sexist ideology that women should be secretaries, stay at home mums and men should be the “providers” or “bread winners”. In 2017, this ideology should be dead and buried, but old fashioned values often creep in a lead to discriminatory behaviour.

Sometimes discrimination is a systemic problem, meant to either stifle your professional worth or at least make you keep quiet about what is going on. On other occasions, it is one senior person acting upon their personal prejudices and values. In either case, there is employment law put into place to ensure that your voice is heard and that any discriminatory behaviour is quashed.

Talk to somebody you trust:

The first step to resolving the problem in the workplace is to speak to somebody that you trust, they can offer a fresh perspective and help you to get out of your own head. Try to steer clear of venting too much, as this can take you away from your goal of finding a solution and resolving the issue. Try to come up with a succinct plan that will have a positive impact upon your work life and happiness.

Decide how to approach the problem:

Once you have been given some good advice on how to handle the situation, you can begin to proceed with your solution. It’s really easy to have a defeatist attitude and think “I should just quit”, but remember, you have worked hard to get where you are, you shouldn’t have to start all over again. Here are some of the best solutions to help the situation:

  • Speak to a lawyer: The first thing that employment lawyers will advise you to do is to document everything, every action that you deem to be offensive or discriminatory. This way you will have a clear index to refer back to if anything progresses to a more serious legal matter. Look into your company’s anti-discriminatory policy, which can be accessed through HR or on your company website. Look over this and see if it highlights any of the behaviour you are experiencing. Reach out to a senior member of the management team and reveal to them all of your findings, this can either be resolved through them personally or will result in further legal action, either in court of through legal settlement.
  • Handle it personally: Being confrontational in a discriminatory situation can often have a positive outcome. People who are bullying or acting in a discriminatory way often need the severity of the situation to be put into perspective in order for there to be any form of resolution.

Discrimination in the workplace is something that needs to be quashed. If you believe that you are being victimised, then it is important to take action and improve your work life.  

Beth Pembrook