Challenges women face in the workplace
It’s a well known fact that all over the world, women face many challenges at the workplace simply because they’re women. And this isn’t just in the corporate business world- these challenges also take place in creative work spaces. Just take a look at the recent #MeToo movement that saw many female musicians, actors and writers come forward with their stories about sexual harassment in the workplace. So here are some of the issues women face in the workplace.
Unequal pay (Gender pay gap)
The gender pay gap is a system where women are paid 27% less than men for the work they do (even if they both have the same level of education and experience). This is a real problem, especially in a country where so many women are the breadwinners at home and are responsible for taking care of families.
Gender bias happens when women are spoken to with assumptions of gender roles (like when they are expected to be married and have children by a certain age, or that women should rather be housewives and let the husband provide). This also happens in the case where a woman is discriminated against because she identifies as lesbian and chooses to dress more masculine-like. It might also happen in a situation where, if a woman feels strongly about something she is called emotional while a man might be called authoritative (commanding and self confident).
It’s true that so many women still face discrimination at work because they are pregnant or they are mothers. This is because there is a stereotype that women who are mothers or pregnant won’t be able to deliver on their work tasks. Even though being an active parent means you might need a few more days off than you usually would, the idea that pregnant women can’t do their work well because they’re pregnant is just false and discriminatory.
What can be done?
It’s always a great start to know your rights. The CCMA is a good organisation to go to if you’ve reported and issue to your human resources department and it is still not resolved - and their services are free of charge.
But more than that, we need to have more open conversations about why gender discrimination and harassment are wrong, and how they all contribute to the bigger issue of gender inequality. Women deserve to work in environments where they are respected and treated equally to men, so it’s time to start making our world a better, safer place.
Remember, you can talk to me about anything. If you or a friend need advice or help, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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