Sex-Based Discrimination

Stereotypes are unconscious habits of thought that link personal attributes to group membership. As soon as an observer notices that a target belongs to a stereotyped group (especially an outgroup), characteristics that are stereotypically linked to the group are activated in the observer’s mind, even among people who consciously reject the stereotypes (Badenhausen, Macrae, and Garst 1998).

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Historically unequal power relations: The political, economic and social processes that have evolved over many centuries have kept men in a position of power over women. Many organizations operate with this mental approach and framework, which naturally allows the women managers to counter the problem of glass ceiling and gender discrimination.

Control of women’s sexuality: Many societies use violence as a way to control a woman’s sexuality, and likewise in many societies violence is used to punish women who exhibit sexual behaviour, preferences and attitudes that violate cultural norms

Cultural ideology: Culture defines gender roles and some customs, traditions and religions are used to justify violence against women when women transgress these culturally assigned roles

Gender Insensitivity: The lack of gender sensitivity is still a problem in many organizations. Interestingly, companies who have female CEOs are generally more gender-friendly. Although women managers at the senior level have tried to introduce some gender-friendly policies, it has only been successful in a few cases. Several of the women managers at the middle level have stated that they had to take a break from work and their career for family reasons, because their companies were not sensitive enough to appreciate the situation. Certain policies could promote women and make the organization more gender-inclusive.

Government inaction: Government negligence in passing a suitable and stringent legislative framework to curb the practice of the glass ceiling has aggravated the problem. The major reason for this is the disguised nature of this practice. Organizations always succeed to find a solid ground to explain why they have not given promotions to the women managers working in their organizations. The organizations always blame the competencies of women managers

I. Unequal remuneration

This occurs when employees of different genders working in the same position and industry with similar skills and experience are paid differently. In 2017 an article titled “No level playing field in SA” reported that South African women earn 27% less than men (Sunday Tribune, 2017:6).

II. Diminished responsibilities

Women, for example, in heavy industries (i.e. mining, machinery manufacturing, shipbuilding etc.) are usually overlooked because it is believed that they are incapable of handling the responsibility though they are qualified to handle the task.

III. Glass ceiling

Cotter et al (2001:655) describes the term glass ceiling as an invisible or artificial barrier that exists which prevent women from advancing within their jobs or receiving promotions. It is found to be more common in higher income occupations.

IV. Positional bias

Due to traditional norms, it is believed women are best suited for positions that will accommodate their obliging and maternal demeanour such as being a secretary. Fields such as science, business, and technology are male-dominated because they require someone that is confident and ambitious- traits that are wildly believed to only be found in men.

V. Dress code

A dress code is a set of standards that companies develop to help provide their employees with guidance about what is appropriate to wear to work ( Wolfe, 2018) whether for reasons of safety, professionalism, or a combination of the two (Anon., 2016). This form of discrimination has two forms: direct and indirect.
Direct discrimination occurs when you overtly treat someone less favourably because of a particular protected attribute which the person possesses. An example of direct discrimination may be if you refused to hire someone of a certain race because you didn’t want them to wear their cultural attire to work (Anon., 2016).
Indirect discrimination occurs when a rule or policy applies equally to all employees yet has a discriminatory effect on a certain class of people who share a particular protected attribute. For instance, prohibiting employees from wearing any form of headwear may be indirectly discriminatory against a religion which requires its followers to do so(Anon., 2016).

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is a practice specifically protected by law. With a few rare exceptions, companies are forbidden from specifying an age preference in job advertisements. Employees must receive the same benefits regardless of age, the only exception being when the cost of providing supplemented benefits to young workers is the same as providing reduced benefits to older workers. Also, age discrimination in apprenticeship programs or internship opportunities is illegal.

Religious Discrimination

It is illegal for employers to discriminate based on an individual’s religious customs. Businesses are required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs, as long as doing so doesn’t have excessive negative consequences for the employer.

Gender Discrimination

When paying a salary to men and women of the same qualifications, responsibility, skill level, and position, employers are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender. Also, businesses are forbidden from lowering one gender’s salary in order to equalize pay between men and women.

Pregnancy-Based Discrimination

Additionally, pregnancy-based discrimination is illegal. Employers are required to handle pregnancy in the same way that they would handle a temporary illness or other non-permanent condition that would necessitate special consideration. Job seekers have the same rights as employees, and both are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) passed in 1978.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is created when harassment or discrimination interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates a difficult or offensive work environment for an employee or group of employees.

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Sex-Based Discrimination. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved October 5, 2022 , from

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