You might be surprised to discover that four out of every 10 employed women in the U.S. report that they’ve experienced gender bias in the workplace.
While many women cite discrimination based on unequal pay levels (25%), a high percentage report other types of gender bias, including being treated as if they’re not competent because of their gender (23%); suffering repeated, small slights at work (16%); and receiving less support from senior leaders because of their gender (15%).
These numbers suggest that gender discrimination is a potential ticking time bomb for all organizations – just one complaint alleging gender discrimination can lead to unwanted scrutiny and costly litigation.
That’s why it makes sense to be on the lookout for incidents that could reveal gender bias.
But what does gender discrimination look like?
In many instances, gender discrimination is based on gender stereotypes, which are presumptions about a worker based on her gender. For instance, a boss might expect a woman to behave in a feminine manner and avoid aggressive behavior.
To steer clear of gender stereotypes, ask yourself this question when dealing with a female crew member who might be behaving aggressively: “Would I feel the same way if she were a man?” It’s best to develop a gender-neutral attitude when interacting with both male and female employees.
Another area of potential problems related to gender bias are assumptions about gender roles. For instance, a female staffer might be expected to provide coffee or fetch paperwork for a meeting.
Again, before assigning a particular job to a woman, ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable asking a man to handle this same job?”
Key: Job assignments should be based on skills and experience, not on gender.
(From the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of HR Manager’s Legal Alert For Supervisors. To download the current issue of the publication right now, please click here.)