Gender Stereotypes Still Bias the Workplace

Posted January 26, 2017 by Mary McGinley

Equality in the workplace continues to be a challenge. In an independent study conducted by Unilever, much of this is because of stereotypes, biases, and social norms that have persisted among workers of both sexes.

Who’s buying into these beliefs left over from a bygone era? According to the study that involved 9000 participants, 77% of men and 55% of women believe that a man is more capable of handling high-end critical projects than if a woman were in charge of such a project.  According to a recent article at HR Dive, women are most likely led to believe this because of experiencing discrimination from a very young age and because they are often denied promotions or overlooked for leadership roles in the workplace.

When discussing difficult matters such as sexual harassment and incidents of discrimination at work, some 67% of the women who were interviewed felt that they had been pressured to overlook inappropriate behavior that occurred within their work environment. Both sexes indicated a tendency toward overlooking such behavior if they witness it. Of those surveyed, 64% of women and 55% of men said that they would likely not confront each other over witnessing sexual harassment or discrimination on the job.

Even among younger professional women, biases are found to exist in the workplace as early as during the recruiting process. Other women who participated in the survey noted that once they are hired for their position they found themselves the recipient of bullying once they were on the job.

The two root causes of this type of socially ingrained behavior according to the study have been cited. These are the media and marketing. Even with concentrated efforts to remove stereotypes from advertising, still the bias toward ingrained gender roles is consistent.  

Equality in the work force has undoubtedly come a long way, however, there’s still a very long way to go. Human resource professionals have an important and integral role to fulfill in ensuring that all policies toward equal opportunity in the workforce are adhered to.

At EinsteinHR, we offer ways for you to not only hire the right person for the right job but also give ideas on how you promote your most capable workers from within based on their performance and aptitude.

We understand the challenges that small to medium sized companies face in finding the ideal candidate. A search takes both time and money for your organization. Whether you need to hire an employee or help manage and keep your top talent for your organization, we can help. Contact us today at 770-962-1700 to find out more.