GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Latoria
Posted June 9, 2019 from Nigeria

Gender discrimination in the workplace is favouring an applicant or an employee over another sex based on gender stereotypes or gender identity. It is treating a particular person based on their gender differently which negatively affects the terms and conditions of the employment which include being hired or fired; job position or duties; work schedule, shift, or job location; your pay rate or salary; and advancement and training opportunities. When the treatment affects the terms and conditions of your employment, it is said to be illegal.

For example, anybody irrespective of their sex can be hired as an HR in the workplace, right? Two candidates meet the requirements of the workplace and the female performs better than the other in the interview. But due to gender stereotypes that males are strong and assertive, you give the post out to the male who actually didn't perform as excellently well as the female. This is illegal.

It could also be in form of sexual harassment during hiring, promotion or trying to keep up with a job. This is prominent in the world and it should be corrected. Women are seen as sex objects and can be taken advantage of sexually in respect to hirings or promotions. Some women are being fired because they fail to give in to such advances. Their employment status lies mostly in sex which is illegal. I believe there is no company which one of its numerous requirements is sex to show work experience in the workplace other than CVs and professional portfolios. Hence, this is discrimination and should be eradicated.

It comes also in forms of sexual advances and some unremarkable remarks; offering both the male and female different pay on the same job; not promoting the female to a senior position because it's assumed she won't be respected; enforcing that women wear short skirts to work when they are more comfortable in trousers; not involving the females in some roles based on stereotypes and the likes. All these are discrimination faced by women in the workplace.

Regarding different pay, it's sad how men are paid more for the same job done by women. According to gendergap.africa, it is stated that, 'In Nigeria, a man earns on average 54% more than a woman.' From the same source, 'In Nigeria, men make on average $206 more than women per month. This is the 11th largest gap in Africa.' Cameroon and Burundi have reached equality in gender gap pay, countries like Liberia and Benin are almost there. They are just two points to getting there.

It's important to know that women are not the only victims of gender discrimination even in the workplace. Men also fall victims of such. Some men are not hired for a particular job because it only is restricted to females which is stereotypical. Women are believed to be good with sales just to attract customers which is a function of beauty. This should not be the basis for discrimination among men because sales is not all about attraction but pitching to convince the customer. Therefore, anybody can sell an idea, product or service to customers. It shouldn't be a function of gender.

In Nigeria, women mostly face discrimination than men due to the stereotypes that women are meant to be housewives and children bearers. Therefore, it wasn't a surprise when the President of Nigeria, Muhammed Buhari said something similar to that in a press conference. Although he was referring to his wife who is just meant for the kitchen and the 'other room', he couldn't have said that if that wasn't the way of life here. Hence, discrimination in the workplace.

In the workplace, women are mostly not promoted to the highest position because the men believe it would be disrespectful. I mean how can a woman be the Managing Director or the Director General when men are still breathing? This happens even when the woman deserves it due to competencies and skills she has acquired over time. However, the man is chosen over the woman despite her qualifications because she is a woman. This is illegal!

Regarding tertiary education, females are actually bagging more bachelor degrees than the males, however, the rate of their involvement professionally is low due to stereotypes that they are emotional. They believe it would affect them in the workplace because they might include sentiments in the decision making process and all of that.

In Chapter IV of the Nigerian Human Rights tagged the Fundamental Human Rights, one of the fundamental right is Right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of ethnic group, place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or political opinion. However, the females, most especially still face sex discrimination based on their gender. In the northern states, this is common and should be eradicated because the females make up approximately half of the Nigerian population, hence, when they are given equal rights, pay, opportunities and hired based on competencies not stereotypes in the workplace as men, the economy's GDP increases. According to the Mckinsey's Global Institute report on gender equality which says, 'In sub-Saharan Africa, gender inequality in professional jobs is high, and the ratio of females to males in leadership roles is extremely low. Incredibly, if women participated in the economy just as much as men, the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa would see a 27% rise.'

Discrimination in the workplace leads to inferiority of self which results to poor performance. Being treated equally in the workplace gives room for improvement and better performance which affect the individual, family, company and country at large. How long are we going to sit back, fold our hands and expect a change if gender discrimination is not addressed in the workplace?

Bodily features are not the same as intelligence or abilities. And you don't need muscles to build capacity for a particular job of interest. The first thing that prompts an individual to go for knowledge regarding their field is interest. And interest is not a function of roles and cultures. Anybody can develop interest in anything, hence, the popular saying, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Gender discrimination in the workplace should be looked into and be done away with in Nigeria because it doesn't only make life uncomfortable for us as individuals, it makes life unbearable and Nigeria, inhabitable.

Comments 3

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Lisbeth
Jun 09
Jun 09

Its true this is a global issue. Everywhere developed or not developed experience this type of discrimination. All again is rooted in our upbringings and culture.
Have you experience job/work discrimination before? Hope you are doing great? Take care

Hello, Latoria,

Thank you for this comprehensive info on gender discrimination at the work place. I’m not sure if men get higher salary than women for the same position in our country. But I know men are preferred because they don’t have maternity leave. So it becomes a discrimination when a woman is married or have children, because it is expected that mothers will take a leave when their children are sick. We’re getting there, though.

Jill Langhus
Jun 10
Jun 10

Hi Latoria,

Thanks for sharing this exploration of gender discrimination in the workplace. Yes, this is a global issue. I still find it shocking about the sex expectation for some jobs there. Horrible that is even a thing. But, I'm glad that you pointed out that this discrimination can also be present for men as well. The biggest problem I can see with all of these points is that it's extremely hard to prove all of them. I'm not saying they don't exist. I'm saying the problem is in order for it to improve it would need to improve at home, socialization, basically, so that men and women don't have certain harmful practices that they are used to, or expect, in the workplace, and don't perpetuate patterns, because like I said, it's hard to prove any of them.