Recent Study Examines the Role of Gender Bias Against Women in the Workplace

Summary of:

Klutsey, J. “Gender Biases against Women in the Workplace” (2020). International Journal of Business and Social Science, 25-31.

Background & Theory:

Genderism is the discrimination caused due to the belief that one gender is superior to another. This literature review examines the role of genderism in the workplace, with a specific focus on its effect on women. Studies have shown that the presence of such gender bias and discrimination in the workplace can result in workplace conflict, which can lead to serious repercussions for the organization.

Question(s):

Research was conducted to answer the following question:

    1. What does current research tell us about the effects of gender bias and discrimination towards women in the workplace?

Methods:

This research was conducted by reviewing a collection of studies on genderism in the workplace. The researcher then consolidated these studies, focusing on the role of gender bias and discrimination towards women in the workplace. They then summarized their findings and detailed effective solutions for gender bias and discrimination in the workplace.

Results:

First, the topic of childhood gender socialization was examined. It was found through past studies that feminine norms included traits like agreeableness in interpersonal relationships and embodying a holistic mindset. On the other hand, masculine norms included traits like competitiveness, individualism, and risk-taking. This suggests that childhood socialization plays into the system in which adult men more frequently inhabit management and executive positions. For example, 85% of Fortune 500 companies have male CEOs and are driven by stereotypical masculine traits. In these companies, managers place less importance on developing interpersonal relationships and focus more on what the employees have accomplished to improve performance and profits.

When women take on traits that fit male stereotypes, more tangible penalties occur for them including lower pay, less intention to hire and promote, and fewer recommendations for organizational rewards. It was also found that male managers tend to give promotions to female leaders who accept their initial offer, rather than those who try to negotiate their salaries. Stereotypically masculine women are viewed as more competent than feminine women, but are seen as less socially-skilled and less likeable. On the other hand, men who work in stereotypically female occupations receive greater organizational rewards and make quicker career progress than similarly qualified women.

In decisions to hire or promote employees, when selecting two equally qualified candidates, the person hiring is more likely to choose a candidate who matches their stereotypical picture of the right fit for the position, accentuating the positive characteristics of the traditional candidate and the negative characteristics of the other. Additionally, in the decision to hire women, many organizations believe women cost significantly more than men to employ because women are stereotypically more likely to interrupt their work life to attend to family needs. Therefore, the costs associated with employing women are typically linked to the number of days they take off of work.

What We Can Learn:

Looking over this research, we can take away this key insight:

  • Women experience a lot of barriers to being hired, promoted, and respected in a workplace that men do not experience. If followed, gender stereotypes typically help men succeed in the modern workplace, whereas gender stereotypes further the categorization of women and provide few solutions for future growth for women outside of their stereotype.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: Organizations steeped in gender bias can harbor a lot of conflict between employees and management. Understanding the barriers women face in the workplace is a key first step for organizational diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additionally, having familiarity with laws that govern equal employment and anti-discriminatory action is very important for management to be aware of.

For Everyone: If you recognize your organization embodies gender biases, seeking help from an outside consulting firm may be helpful to dismantling such bias in the workplace.