Sexism at Workplace Ramifies Itself

August 19, 20158:20 am494 views

Sexism continues to thrive as strongly as gender bias within the corporate business community. An interesting finding also brings to light the fact that women are not the only ones subjected to sexist remarks or jokes, men are also victims of this behaviour.

According to a survey by Peninsula Group, the findings reveal, “81% of women have been victims of sexist jokes at work. Whilst 63% of men feel uneasy when female colleagues make indecent remarks about their physical appearance.”

Alan Price, HR Director of Peninsula, the employment law consultancy says, “Whilst the more overt instances of sexism for women and men are more notable, including jokes or remarks apart physical appearance, managers and colleagues can also fall into the trap of more subtle forms of sexism.”

“Female employers have reported being given less important tasks such as office housekeeping, whereas men have heard management and colleagues of both sexes describe a physically strenuous task as ‘man’s job’.”

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed with utmost importance. Simply ignoring the issue or sweeping it under the rug is as bad as participating in the jokes yourself. What’s more is, failing to deal with the issue effectively and allowing the problem to escalate.

This can lead to possible Employment Tribunals in future as well, that will impact the organisational repute in the long run. Immediacy of dealing effectively with such issues are seldom realised by organisations until they reach a saturation point.

How can employers stop or prevent further instances of sexism within an organisation? It is required that management teams be fully equipped to handle this situation effectively for a collaborative workplace culture.

See: Six tips for HRs to deal with workplace politics

Price further added: “Regardless of who is the subject of the joke or remark, all workers should be treated equally and deserve respect based on their level of skill and not their gender. Employers should act as advocates of the workplace culture, demonstrating that no form of sexism will be tolerated whether that is an indecent remark, joke or assigning tasks based on ridiculous notions of what a man or woman can do. Employers and management should use their platforms to see that sexism in the workplace becomes a thing of the past, creating a positive outlook for the future of business.”

According to a study published recently in The Leadership Quarterly elaborates on a fact saying “Guys, don’t ask for help. When they do, they are judged harshly for it. They are perceived as less competent.”

When women ask for help, they don’t look bad nor are they penalised for doing so. In fact, women are expected to ask for help and the behaviour that they are engaging in is not at odd with their gender role.

Few Tips for Dealing with Sexism at Workplace

  • Identify when the ideas are discriminatory in nature and behaviours such as personal explicit comments should be taken a note of by the HR manager.
  • HR department should be equipped to handle sexual harassment and blatant gender disrespect in office without disrupting work or make a big issue of things that could possibly jeopardize your position. Mediation will help resolve the disparities or shall result in dismissal of the person responsible.
  • Maintain safe distances and avoid getting too close to colleagues at work. Be mindful of the interactions you have with colleagues in and out of office settings.

As managers it is important to not observe selective deafness towards signs of subtle sexism at work and take necessitated action proactively to deal with such workers who uphold such racist thoughts on mind.

Always request clarity on issues as and when they come up and ask everyone to speak up. Never be too soon to pass conclusive remarks or make judgement based on biased perceptions.

Make sure you hold the organisational mantle high at all times, irrespective of your personal preferences to deliver on the promise of being “an equal opportunity employer” of choice. It is time for HR managers to set a level playing field for all.

Image credit: wikimedia.org

Also read: 5 Myths of Great Workplaces

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