While I’d like to think that we’ve come a long way since the 1950’s when gender discrimination at the office was somewhat commonplace, the truth is that it still occurs today. This kind of discrimination is not restricted to a few countries but is widespread even in some of the most advanced economies of the world, including the United States. And while there can be reverse gender discrimination, the victims are usually women.  Why is there this man-woman divide? This question does not have a straightforward answer however in this article we will try to look at some factors that may be attributed to this growing phenomenon. 

Society is comprised of many individuals but often a rigid framework for how to think about things develops and influences the majority of individuals. Opinions, thoughts and preferences get deeply rooted and even with changing times they can be very difficult to uproot and change. Men have always been considered physically stronger than women, and sometimes intellectually superior. This notion has existed in the past and still continues to do so in some cultures. Even today when governments and legal authorities are trying their best to provide fair and equal employment opportunities, gender discrimination at the workplace continues to be prevalent. That said, all the blame cannot be put on society and primitive ways of thinking.  It is time that women take some responsibility for the problem so that they can be the agents of change.  

Let’s look at jobs that require physical strength.  When applying for a job, women often tend to look for job openings that don’t involve much physical activity. In other words, the perception that a particular job is a ‘man’s job’, settles in fairly quickly.  This has caused women themselves to doubt their own abilities and to migrate away from these types of jobs.  But there is no reason to believe that women are incapable of performing jobs that require heavy physical exertion.  And with today’s machinery and automation, so much of the heavy lifting that was once required is now actually done by or helped by machines.  There is no reason that a woman should avoid doing these types of jobs if they interest her. 

However this is not just an issue of an individual woman’s preference.  One thing that should be noted is that gender discrimination at workplace is unlawful and any organization that is found to subscribe to it can be penalized in a court of law. The right to equal employment opportunities clearly states that an individual should not be mistreated based on certain characteristics among which gender is one such characteristic. Now, how can this divide be rectified?  We need help from different facets of society- both men and women. Women should not undermine their own abilities and apply for jobs that are less demanding. They should treat every opportunity with equal importance and consider their merit as the only deciding factor. 

Organizations should treat women with respect and should offer them challenges that give them a chance to prove their potential. Employers, colleagues and other staff of the organization should not make any pre conceived judgments and should not make any comments that could be construed as gender discrimination. Work policies and regulations should be designed around protecting the interests of women. If anyone is found to indulge in an act of discrimination, he should be punished and if the situation demands, should be removed from the organization. 

Every individual should make conscious efforts to completely eliminate gender discrimination at the workplace. In a modern business world, discrimination of any sort can turn out to be very limiting therefore efforts should be made to ensure a healthy and a positive work environment.