Gender Stereotyping in the Workplace

Gender Stereotyping in the Workplace

Among all the factors that affect how people are treated in the workplace, one that is more widespread than others is the effect of gender stereotyping. In this article we are going to discuss about the gender stereotyping in the workplace.

So, What is Gender Stereotyping in The Workplace?

Gender stereotyping appears when one generalises an attribute on a group of people of the same gender which then leads to limiting their advancement/growth/choices at the workplace.

The source of these beliefs can be traced to childhood and adolescence where gender-based toys, clothing colors, etc. are less supportive of gender equality. Instead, they influence the skills children learn and the possibilities they see for themselves. With time these youngsters move on with unconscious biases which affect how an individual engages with another and their environment.

At the workplace, women experience negative effects of gender bias like lower salaries, fewer promotions, and lesser opportunities for leadership roles as compared to men who have the same level of education and experience. All these have contributed to what one would refer to as the ‘glass ceiling’ – a metaphor for the impediment that does not allow women to achieve the success they deserve

Not Only This, there Are Other Aspect of Gender Stereotyping in the Workplace. Let’s have a discussion on that

Another example of gender bias at work would be the experience of harassment, micro-aggression, and non–inclusive behavior women face on a day-to-day basis.

Right from hiring a candidate where the language used to describe the job have traces of unconscious biases to the interview questions posed to the candidates are sometimes seen to be deliberately done in a way so as to weed out women from applying for the job.

Although men and women might experience sexual harassment at work, the percentage of women experiencing sexual harassment far outnumber the number of men. Unwanted physical advances and demeaning comments go unreported as women fear embarrassment and the risk of jeopardizing their careers makes them choose to stay mum.

On a lesser level, women have reported being interrupted/dismissed as they speak to their male counterparts and having their ideas received very casually while the same ideas put forth by a male co-worker receive much fanfare.

Creating a Gender-Inclusive Workplace Culture

With women making up a significant chunk of the workforce there has been evidence to suggest that a more gender-inclusive workplace is what will help achieve optimal profitability and performance.

Building a workplace that has a culture of support, respect, and inclusivity is the foundation for valuing the work of every employee regardless of their gender, be it male, female, non-binary, trans, or any other marginalized group.

This would create a sense of belonging where all voices are heard, all experiences are valued thus holding together an environment of trust. This kind of workplace would attract and retain accomplished and capable employees as they have the support to set up their employees for success.

To begin with, to create a gender-inclusive workplace one needs to pay attention to the fact that, the language used, the policies, the actions taken, the spaces provided, etc are supportive and inclusive of all genders.

Making a meaningful change starts with an inclusive hiring process whereas a blind hiring process could make sure that a candidate's gender does not contribute to or be an impediment to their path to success. This will ensure a good mix of genders who are chosen for their capabilities and competence.

Here, men the other counterpart can play a very crucial role. that Supporting female colleagues and becoming their allies in the workplace can be the most important step to irradicate gender stereotyping in the workplace.

Inclusivity would also mean that employees could have non-binary gender identities and the workplace would support them and make the environment comfortable by encouraging preferred pronoun sharing.

Workplaces that offer gender-neutral benefits have women and men in senior positions. This is because the same leave policy applies to all genders. Such initiatives by the workplace send the message that these companies believe in creating an inclusive workplace, removing deep-rooted gender biases, and fostering a gender-inclusive climate.

Having transparency while deciding on promotions removes any distastefulness or gossip among the employees about any unfairness or biased practices by the company.

Read the impact of mental health on the Indian Workforce - Mental Health Survey 2023

Sensitizing employees to notice the ill effects of gender stereotyping helps educate employees on company values thus reducing this type of bias.

Insightful employers can make efforts to know their employees. Having conversations and arranging activities that surround awareness days will make employees feel safe and that’s an effective way of allowing people to be their best selves.

Promoting a culture where all employee voices are heard, and ideas recognized will help establish a culture of meritocracy.

Today professionals aren’t just applying for a job, they also want to be part of a company whose culture and values resonate with inclusivity. They are attracted to employers with strong values regarding equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Making Mental fitness a part of the company culture would ensure that all employees more empathetic, and compassionate to one another and empower them to speak up against any gender discrimination or biases.

Sandra Day O’Connor says- “The most damaging phrase in the language is it’s always been done that way.”

When workplaces notice and acknowledge these complex layers that make up gender biases in the workplace and make necessary changes then women and other underrepresented groups will feel supported and safe. Dismantling entrenched perceptions in the organisation requires intentional action taken from the top which will then trickle down.

Like any cultural change removing gender bias will take time, awareness, effort, and effective tools. Being aware and open about unfair practices and policies will be the first step towards eradicating them.

An inclusive environment without gender biases is more than a goal in itself, it is a precondition to creating a society where everyone thrives.

Anu Rajgarhia
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