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  • Writer's pictureTrisha Bhattacharya

Why is Gender Equality needed?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Michael Kimmel, an American sociologist specializing in gender studies visited companies where he was often asked by company professionals-

Gender equality is good for the country. The countries with lower inequalities are the ones that are at peace and higher levels of happiness. It’s even good for the companies as it will result into a lower job turnover and attrition, an easy-time recruiting and higher rates of retention and workers will have a higher job satisfaction.

Gender stereotypes disadvantage women leaders. A woman manager is less likely to be taken seriously by the people who work for her. When men direct others, they are often assumed to be assertive and competent, but when women direct others, they are often disliked and labelled abrasive or bossy.

Gender bias negatively affects not just women but men as well. We don’t just stereotype men and women. We stereotype jobs. Yes, there are some jobs that particularly need men because men are naturally stronger than women, but this shouldn’t neglect exceptions. Everyone must be tested before being labelled.

“Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.”- Michael Kimmel

Stereotypes make us wonder who among men and women, would be a “better” fit for a particular job. But what should ideally happen is that we must judge and offer job positions to those who are capable of it and its responsibilities. A person’s hard work, diligence and owning up for his/her mistakes should determine who should get promoted or paid higher.

Gender stereotypes quickly get attached to jobs and due to that the level of respect or dignity the man/ women associated with the job is treated with by other colleagues, differ. Harm to a progressive society starts when one’s capabilities are simply devalued and undermined based on patriarchal and orthodox stereotypes.

A STUDY SHOWED- When men stepped in to work with a client who had initially worked with another male loan manager , the client was highly compliant with his directives. But when men stepped in to work with a client who had initially worked with a female loan manager, the client afforded them much less authority. They were much less compliant than they would have been if they had initially worked with a male loan manager.

This proves how women still feel disrespected at work. It was seen that workplaces often marginalise women based on unprofessional parameters.

These include:

· Isolating communication- Even without having assigned work areas, in some companies, men and women sat at separate places. Men talked about their female colleagues and women suspected the topic were either sexist or inappropriate and these infuriated women.

· Being silenced- Women's ideas were rejected sometimes even after having multiple years of work experience.

· Facing Consequences for Breaking Gender Norms- Women faced backlashes when they showed assertiveness, seeked promotions or took initiatives.

· Markers of disrespect- Credibility of women was questioned, and they were being made to feel uncomfortable.

· Violence/sexual harassment- Women were physically threatened at work, stalked by co-male workers. Often these assaults left the women with no choice other than leaving the job.

· Lack of tolerance for physical needs/bodies- Often accommodations due to different biological differences, e.g.- a separate cubicle for pumping breast milk, were requested by the women and honouring these needs were difficult in some companies. Often women were found getting treated differently due to their appearances or clothes so much so that some women had to hear from their clients that they were not fit for their job because they seemed too attractive to work there.

This issue prevails since the longest of times and educating people on the need to focus on this more to eliminate it increases everyday. We see many instances of gender discrimination in our day-to-day life. We sometimes feel bad, or sometimes nothing at all because that's how used to we have become to this awful condition. But how long do we keep quiet? It's time to speak up!

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