Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace

Sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and unequal pay between the sexes are some of the major discriminations women still face in the workplace. Sexual discrimination happens more than most people would think.

Women have been oppressed by men since the beginning of time, and even in today’s advanced world, the oppression does not quit. major discriminations against women that still face today. Men get the promotions, while women do the same work. Sometimes women complete more work than the men, but with no recognition, promotion or pay. A woman’s competition in the workplace are men, other women, and themselves. Once they get the job, they have to work harder than anyone else in the male-dominated office.

Sexual discrimination is illegal in the workplace. Hiring, firing, pay, and promotions are ways in which women face challenges at work. Full-time working women make 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. This 20 cent wage gap applies to every occupation that women and men have equal opportunities for. Women can supply the same workload that men do, but the pay does not reflect that. You would think that in 2016, women would finally be treated as equals. To their face, everyone seems to respect each other equally, but when it comes to the paychecks, the differences are clear.

Robin Bach, 25, is a student at Montclair State University, who has been battling sexual discrimination in the workplace for years now. She has worked in an electronics store and a pet store where these instances have taken place. Bach recalled, “when I worked at RadioShack a few years ago, I always worked hard to make sales and keep the store clean. My coworkers just came to do their time and get out. They would take as many customers as possible, when we were supposed to take turns. That was money they were taking out of my pocket by hogging all the customers. Because I stood up for myself, they hated me for it and treated me like garbage. They would talk to me with attitude and made it impossible to find coverage if I needed to call out. I eventually quit because my coworkers made me feel like an outcast.”

Instances like this happen all the time, perhaps in every business, where women are expected to fall back and let the men take over. Women who aren’t as strong-willed as Bach get mistreated and stay at these jobs without speaking up for themselves. Or worse, when they do have the courage to stand up to their coworkers or bosses, they either don’t do anything to help the situation or find a reason to fire them so they don’t have to deal with it. Robin dealt with this in another job while working at a pet store, with a manager and coworker who disliked women. She would constantly get into trouble for trivial things that her manager would make up, yet her coworkers who were making legitimate mistakes did not get reprimanded. Her coworkers would leave the inventory for Robin to do on her own or would not properly clean up after themselves. They would not take her seriously and left it all for Robin to do.

Her manager at the time, who she had an audio recording of this conversation, talked down to her when she approached him about a shipment issue. “He had the audacity to try to belittle me, but he had nothing. I called him out on picking on me and ignoring me when we worked together, but all he did was walk away or tell me to shut up. My other coworkers told me they think he is afraid of women, but this wasn’t the way to handle that. I care about my job and it’s discouraging when my manager is targeting me because I am an educated, opinionated, feisty woman. That is seen as me being a ‘bitch’, but when I spoke up about it, none of my other coworkers defended me!”

Robin brought the issue to human resources, and they did nothing to her manager or coworker who were mistreating her. They offered her a transfer, in a town over half an hour away, which she took because it was getting unbearable to work in this environment. It is disheartening as a woman to hear about things like this happening, where the people who are causing the discrimination face no justice. Robin’s ex coworkers are still there today, with no reprimanding, and continue to have the same sexist values.

Sexual discrimination does not stop at verbal mistreatment. Physically, men think they have the right to touch you or belittle you because you are in a work environment. Women may feel powerless because they are at work and fear to lose their job or get in trouble for putting the customer in their place. Cindy Dorante, 28, from Clifton, works at a hair salon where all her coworkers are also females. Working in a hair salon, where most of your clientele are men, they often mistake your kindness for flirting in some instances. That is never the case for salon workers, for they are only being polite and respectful to every single guest that sits in their chair-man, woman, and child.

Cindy recently experienced getting touched by a customer who regularly comes to the store for a hair cut. This man, who was not even getting a hair cut by Cindy, went into the employee office where Cindy was and grabbed her from behind on her hips. Cindy immediately put him in his place and told him to get out of the office and she does not like to be touched. Although his intentions may have been innocent, grabbing a woman from behind would instill fear no matter the circumstances. “He said he was sorry, but I barely knew him. I was always nice and friendly to him, but him coming into our office and touching me was not okay at all. He was always creepy, and would look at me with this sickening look, like he’s undressing me with his eyes, but I would always direct him back to talking about his hair cut. After this happened, he ran off. He came to the store two weeks later, and I refused to take him. I had my coworker take him as I stayed in the back.”

Cindy is one of the few women who actually stand up to their harassers. When put in scary situations where you don’t know what will happen next, most women freeze and let it happen. Sexual harassment is simply unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Being touched without your permission falls under that, and instead of letting people get away with it, women need to stand together and empower one another to be stronger. Women have made advances throughout history, but the fight is far from over. Demanding equal pay is the next battle women are making and hopefully will be implemented. If women take the 20 percent wage gap without a fight, it will never change. Women must demand for equal pay and sure enough, the power in numbers and converging for these rights will exhibit these results.

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