Topic of the Week Sex / Gender Discrimination
Sex or gender discrimination in employment involves treating someone unfavorably because of the person’s sex, whether they are applying for a job or are a current employee. Although women have made clear they have the ability to perform with the same skill and success in every endeavor engaged in by men, the issue of sex discrimination still holds many back. Sex discrimination, although predominantly an issue for women, can sometimes be directed towards men as well.
What is sex or gender discrimination?
Sex or gender discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment specifically because an individual is a woman or a man. If you have been rejected for employment, fired, or otherwise harmed in employment because of your sex or gender, then you may have suffered sex or gender discrimination.
In everyday language as well as in the law, the terms “gender” and “sex” are used inter-changeably, but the two terms have different meanings. Social scientists use the term “sex” to refer to a person's biological or anatomical identity as male or female, while reserving the term “gender” for the collection of characteristics that are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness. Discrimination is generally illegal regardless of whether it is based on sex, or gender, or both sex and gender.
Here are some examples of potentially unlawful sex/gender discrimination that women, for example, may face:
- Hiring/Firing/Promotions: You apply for a job for which you have experience and excellent qualifications, but you are not hired because some of the company's long-time clients are more comfortable dealing with men; you are told that you are laid off due to company cutbacks and reorganization, while men in the same job and with less seniority than you keep their jobs; you have worked for your company for several years, receiving exemplary reviews and an employee-of-the-year award, yet each of the five times you have applied for promotions, the positions you applied for are instead filled by less qualified men.
- Pay: You worked your way up from the position of cook's helper to chef. A male chef with similar training and work experience was recently hired, and you find out that he will be paid more than you; you are a top salesperson for your company, but are moved to a less desirable territory while a man with much lower sales is given your territory and client base, enabling him to make much more in commissions than you will make for several years.
- Job Classification: You work at a company for four years and put in many hours of overtime. After you return from having a baby, you tell your employer that you will not be able to put in as many hours of overtime. Your position is then changed to a lower level and you get less pay, while male coworkers in similar positions are allowed to cut back their overtime hours for personal reasons without any changes to their positions or pay.
- Benefits: Your company's health insurance policy does not cover your spouse, because it is assumed that he will have his own benefits, while your male coworkers have their wives covered by the policy. Because your husband is between jobs, you have to pay increased health benefits on his behalf that your coworkers do not pay for their wives.
If any of these things have happened to you on the job, you may have suffered sex or gender discrimination. Sex or gender discrimination may be accompanied by other forms of illegal discrimination as well, such as age, race, or disability discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment are also considered forms of sex discrimination under the law.
Thought of the Week
"We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."
–— Malala Yousafzai
Weekly Comic by Jerry King
Blog of the Week
Top Five News Headlines
List of the Week
Less Than Five Percent of CEOs at S&P 500 Companies are Women
- Women make up almost half (47 %) of the US workforce and, yet, the number of women CEOs at S&P 500 companies is incredibly meager… and it’s declining.
- In 2017, women made up 6.4 % of the companies on the list, that number is now down to 4.8 percent.
- More than a third of Fortune 500 female CEOs resigned in the past year, including veterans such as Campbell Soup Co.’s Denise Morrison, Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman, Mondelez’s Irene Rosenfeld and Avon’s Sheri McCoy.