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Gender Discrimination At Workplace Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 5376 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The reason to conduct this research is to gain knowledge and insight about various factors which results in Gender Discrimination and the problems and hurdles which women face in today’s work environment.

Two sectors mainly public and private were taken in an account in order to know that in which sector Gender Discrimination greatly take place. Important factors sought include: organizational climate, society and attitude.

I would like to know the perception of both men and women on the above mentioned factors and that how these factors influences Gender Discrimination. The mean of research, which I adopted for my research are research paper study, interviews and questionnaires from both men and women.

I segregated the selected population according to eight socio-economic classes:












Public and Private

Graduate, masters, M.phil, Phd

Single, Divorced, Married




Public and Private

Graduate, masters, M.phil, Phd

Single, Divorced, Married

I have found out variety of answers from questionnaires and interviews under different circumstances.


This paper presents the major factors which greatly influence and result in the Gender Discrimination at work place. To find out that, I have floated fifty questionnaire (30 women and 20 men) in both private and public sector as well as took three interviews from both high management and font line staff ( 2 females and 1 male) in order to know different perception of people in different sectors about Gender Discrimination. Further more, this paper talks about the impact of organizational norms and culture on the female employees’ performance, comfort at job and perceived growth. This study is focused on governmental organization, private organization, educational institute and public private hospitals. It is concluded that, there is a Gender Discrimination at workplace and women are treated unfairly at their jobs as compared to men. But this discrimination is because of the society in which we live in and because of the different family laws and perception which people have due to different backgrounds. Also organizational climate as a whole don’t effectively influence gender discrimination. Its influence is less then the other two factors which are society and attitude.

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In an age where we talk about equal rights for men and women, there are still occurrences of people being discriminated against because of their gender. Gender discrimination is not an issue, which one can ignore or tolerate silently. People should realize that gender discrimination at workplace is a serious form of employment discrimination, which should not be discharged. Gender based discrimination is defined as undesirable action or differential treatment against a person that would not have occurred if the person had been of another sex. Gender discrimination is considered as a serious form of injustice and is illegal in certain circumstances in most of the countries around the world.

There is a need to develop organizational culture compatible to societal values that supports and motivates more women to participate in the economic and national development activities. There is a challenging task for the organization in future to retain and welcome the rapidly increasing women’s participation in the work force both in public and private sector.



While some bias is open and overt, much more of it is hidden. We all have hidden biases about particular groups, places, and things. Hidden bias stems from our everyday sense of ‘the way things are,’ which informs our everyday workplace interactions. Bias affects what we notice about people, how we interpret their behavior and what we remember about them. We tend to notice, interpret and remember behavior that reinforces our biases. These assumptions are pervasive: both men and women make them. The biases that result affect our interactions both with people we know and with people we don’t know.

Gender bias, specifically, is our assumptions about the characteristics of men and women. For example, men generally are assumed to be aggressive, reliable, and competent and committed to their careers. Every day each one of us makes small judgments about individuals based on everyday assumptions that arise automatically.

Research has shown that men benefit more from their accomplishments than women, and even small inequity accumulate over time and cause women to advance at a slower rate then men.

The following are the most common patterns of gender bias encountered in the workplace.

Maternal wall

The strongest and most explicit bias in today’s workplace is against mothers. Generally, maternal wall bias is generating when motherhood becomes ‘salient’ or obvious to managers and colleagues. This typically occurs when a woman announces that she is pregnant, returns from maternity leave, or adopts a part-time or flexible schedule. Maternal wall bias stems from assumptions that mothers are not as competent as others, are not as committed to their jobs, and belongs at home because they can’t be both good mothers and good workers.


The truth of the common saying “women must try twice as hard to achieve half as much” is documented by more than a quarter century of social science. Women need to provide more evidence of job-related skills than their male counterparts before they are viewed as competent. Additionally, women are allowed fewer mistakes than men before they are judged incompetent.

Role Reversal

Behavior that is acceptable in men often is considered unacceptable in women. A woman in a traditionally masculine job may be called ‘hard to work with’ or ‘too ambitious’ for the same behavior that helps a man establish himself as ‘assertive’ and ‘having leadership potential.’ The unspoken view in such situations is that women should be helpful, warm, understanding, and kind. In some workplaces, women are seen either as ‘likable, dependent…traditional women’ who are nice but incompetent or as ‘dominant, nontraditional women’ who are competent, but are disliked for violating unspoken norms that women should be inclusive and nurturing.

The Gender Wars

Workplaces create conflict among women when they evince approval of women who adhere to traditional feminine stereotypes (passive, nurturing, and allowing male supervisors to take the spotlight), but disapproval for women who buck such stereotypes. The most common workplace conflict among women is the generational conflict between older women who made it to the highest levels in their companies by closely following a traditional masculine career path and younger women who seek more flexible options, including part-time work.

Because most gender bias is subtle rather than overt, policies and procedures that appear to be a facially neutral, objective, and job-related may be applied in ways that lead to fewer hiring and promotion opportunities, lower compensation, poor performance evaluations, more frequent disciplinary actions, and greater termination rates among women. These patterns result when managers base their employment decisions on biases rather than job performance. Decisions based on bias rather than legal job related reasons often will end up penalizing talented workers and rewarding less talented ones. As a result, such decisions may well expose productivity and negatively affect employee morale.

In our research I have first begin by identifying gender bias, focusing on public and private sectors and then comparing and contrasting the working environments in both corporate cultures, and then analyzing how rampant gender bias against women is, in both scenarios.


This research is being conduct to know what the level of gender discrimination at work place. What problems are arising due to gender biasness and what are the consequences of this? How is it affecting the society, people’s life and business world? And the main reasons which lead to gender discrimination at work place.


I have conducted this research in order to know that to what extent there is a gender bias at workplace. What are the reasons and what problems are created due to this gender discrimination at work place? Through this research we can come up with the solution to the problem of gender discrimination. Also this can help to make people aware of this prevailing problem of gender biases and the reasons of its occurrence. And the negatives and positive affect of this on the business world and personal lives of men/women.


The objective of this study is to

Study gender bias in the workplace and focus on the distinction made between a man and woman in a working environment on the basis of professionalism, integrity, and respect, and gauging whether this phenomena has decreased with the passage of time and awareness, or if it has become worse.

Study the problems which female employees go through in their job due to society, family pressure and work environment.

Study that in which sector, discrimination mainly exists.


Sex Discrimination in Hiring: The Influence of Organizational Climate and Need for Approval on Decision Making

Katz (1987) conducted a research to find out that whether the organizational climate affects the hiring and decision making or not. He conducted an experiment in Northeastern University. One hundred and sixty males were taken as a sample of age 24-

25 years. He created two artificial organizational environments i.e. discriminatory and non-discriminatory. All the participants were divided into two and were given job descriptions of the organization along with resumes of both males and females. They were also given a scale on which they have to arrange their résumés. That scale has four variables hiring, salary, fit and longevity. The participants who were taking part in that experiment had to act as a manger and take decisions accordingly. The result which was extracted from the study was that men were given high priority and value in discriminatory organization on hiring, salary, fit and longevity.Whereas, male and female both enjoy equal rights in non-discriminatory environment. The finding of the above mentioned research was all hypothetical and has internal validity. The participants who took part in the experiment were asked to imagine that they are mangers which can result in the real life findings. Sex discrimination is an on going process in today society and has to eliminate from a real life experiment which should have external validity and whose findings can be applied in further studies.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace:

Phillis (2000) in her research paper has reviewed three court cases studies on the respective topic “sexual harassment at workplace”. She, in her research with the reference of the court case studies wants to find out different forms and effects of sexual harassment women faces at their workplace. The court case study shows that the women are treated very badly at their workplace. They are asked for the physical favors as well as men find different ways and excuses to physically touch them. Females at their

workplace are also exposed with bad sexual jokes and pictures which not make them uncomfortable while working but also have bad psychological effects on their minds which ultimately results in the choice between their job and security.

Sexual harassment is a very serious problem which still practiced in today’s society, government should laws and policies which prohibit this act in an organization.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace: Experience of Women at Health Sectors

Chaudhuri (2006) conducted a research to investigate the perspective of sexual harassment at health sector. For her research, she has done exploratory research and has under taken four hospitals, two governments and two private. The entire research was qualitative as this issue is quite sensitive. One hundred and forty one women employees take part in this research of age around 20-59. Three group interviews, forty informal interviews and one hundred and thirty five in-depth interviews ere taken from the participants of both public and private hospitals and from that it has been observed that females employees are not only experience verbal and psychological harassment but also male employees touch them physically. Mostly nurses and junior doctors experience sexual harassment. Complaints by them were not given any value and importance and hence no actions were taken against sexual harassment which shows the power disparity among men and women. No proper laws are made in this sector which eventually results in the fear and insecurity in the mind of females.

Salary Structure Effects and Gender Pay Gap in Academia

Barbezat and Hughes (2005) based their study of gender salary gap and discrimination on The National Faculty Survey Data (1999). National Faulty Survey conducted their research by taking in account nine hundred and sixty institutions both public and private of fifty different states and two thousand five hundred and seventy six full and part time employees both males and females associated with these institutions. Authors basic aim was to find out the salary gap between males and females who have similar responsibilities and work positions. From the survey, it has been concluded that men earns 20.7% more than that of women of the same post and responsibilities. The percentage is high at the professional institutions as compared to the art institutions. Men also enjoy more benefits and compensation then women. This issue has to be eliminated and need to be studied more.

Gender Discrimination at the Labor Market

Lissenburgh (2001) in his paper uses National Survey Data and Human Capital Theory to find out the degree and gender discrimination at the UK labor market (1990s). From the data of the National Survey, the part time female employee’s faces lot of salary and benefit issues as compared to full time female employees. According to the Human

Capital Theory education, training and experience play a great impact on pay gap. There will be an increase of 10% in the women pays only if they pay more attention to the human capital factors. This is also one of the reason, part time female employees get less salary as compared to full time. Government should make such policies which should bound companies to pay all men and women equal pays.

Determinate of Gender Based Wage Discrimination in Pakistan: a Confirmatory Factor Analysis Approach

Yasin et.al(2010) conducted an empirical study to find out the two main points that wage difference among men and women and development in labor market (1999-2008) Pakistan while keeping socio-culture and individual factors in consideration. All the data and information was collected from secondary source mainly from Labor Force Survey

[(2007-2008) conducted by Federal Bureau of Statistics], ministry of industry report. The sample which the Labor Force survey under took for their survey was eighteen thousand nine hundred and twelve household one million individuals from all the four provinces of Pakistan between the ages of 14-65 years. These samples contain both upper and lower level of employees. The results from the survey and from all the reports was that with the passage of time gender discrimination is increasing and the reason behind this is the level of education, experience and organization culture. They also show that gender discrimination mostly apply to those women who are married and have children because then ultimately they have to give more time to their family and children and less to their work. Also our society doesn’t allow married women to work 9-5 job. Gender discrimination is an ongoing process and has to be eliminated for the better economic growth of the country. Government should make certain policies which results in reduction of discrimination.

Gender earning inequality and discrimination in Pakistani Labor Market

Farooq in his research paper estimate the monthly wage/earning difference between men and women in Pakistani labor market on the findings of Pakistan Standard and Labor

Market (PSLM) Survey (2004-2005). The purpose for which this survey was used to find out the Human and non-capital factors for the wage difference in Pakistan. This survey has all the relevant information needed to find out the gender pay gap. The sample which was used in the survey had ninety one thousand three hundred and nineteen household both males and females out of which 51.6% were males of mean age 36 and 48.4% were females of mean age 32. The results which was carried out by author with the help of

PSLM survey was that the gender pay gap is increasing and the reason behind that is education and experience of females. Also he found out that males enjoy more benefits and incentives than females.

An Analysis of Occupational Choice in Pakistan: a multinomial Approach

Nasir (2005) conducted his research on the data of Pakistan Integrated Household Survey [PIHS (2001-2002)] and multinomial log model of occupation choice for males and females to find out the occupational structure and how different factors, human and individual factors, help individuals to choose their occupation. The sample of Pakistan Integrated Household Survey which was conducted by Federal Bureau of statistics was fourteen thousands eight hundred and twenty five house hold which was divided in to two categories that are regular wages and salaries worker and second was self employed and employer. One more sample which was taken by them was thirteen thousand seven hundred and ninety three individuals out of which eleven thousand five hundred and seventy three were males and tow thousand two hundred and twenty were females of ages 10-65. The information which was important for this sample was age, earning, marital status, occupation and education. From this survey and multinomial log model of occupation, the results which were carried out were that education play significant role in choosing the job. Men choose that job which pay good salary and give them more benefits. They mainly choose job on human capital factors rather than on human factors. Author also states that, there are certain factors which play great and important role while choosing of occupation but if there were no factors than there will be an efficiency in the economic growth and women will get chance to come in front to the market with their talents and skills. Occupational segregation results in lowering of the wages and benefits of female employees. Human capital factors (education, experience and training) play a significant role in choosing jobs. Occupational choice greatly impact women as they have to look for their family and children and because of that they have less opportunities then men. To eliminate this concept more job types for women have to open and also there should be equality in work place and married women should be given certain benefits so that they can manage their time and work both. As education is one of an important factor therefore women education should be promoted.

Organizational Culture: Impact on Female Employee’s Job Performance

Irfan et.al (2009) conducted a research to find out the impact of organizational culture and environment on the performance of female employee. According to author, organization should develop such environment which allows women to work comfortably and attractively and has to be free from biasness. He conducted a research in three services sectors i.e. education sector, banking sector and information technology sector. Stratified random sampling was used. Three hundred females were sampled, hundred from each sector. One hundred and seven questionnaires were distributed among them asking the question on how much organization culture has impact on female employee performance. The results which were extracted from the research were that organizational environment play an important role on the performance of female employment. Organizational environment can make the work place attractive and supportive. Also not only organizational environment but attitude of peers, work environment and support from the family also play a significant role on the female performance.

Discrimination in the Health Care Industry: a Research on Public Hospital

Ozcan et.al (2011) conducted a research to find out a discriminatory behavior in public hospitals and the reasons and way through which this behavior can be reduced. He conducted a research in public hospitals by distributing questionnaires among three hundred fifty one health care employees and by taking semi-structured interviews from five health care employees from each hospital. The result which was extracted from the research was that there are three types of discrimination mainly ideology, vocational and gender discrimination. Ideological and vocational discrimination mainly results from political and professional views whereas gender discrimination mainly occurs at piratical society where there is male dominance and they enjoy every benefits and advantage of life. Also gender discrimination take place because of societal and cultural factors which prohibits women to work outside and should take care of her home. Discrimination whether it is ideological, vocational or gender should be eliminated in order to increase the economics growth and give platform to females to show their talents.


Gender discrimination at work place


Organizational climate



Bias managerial decisions






Family law

Social stigmata

Women education

Peer pressure

Maternal wall

Male dominance

Mental capabilities

Physical strength of women


Dependant: gender discrimination at work place

Independent: organizational climate, society and attitude.


Organizational climate:

Organizational climate is the process of measure the “culture” of an organization. It is a set of properties of the work environment, perceived directly or indirectly by the employees, that is assumed to be a major force in influencing employee behavior. I have taken it as an independent variable as it directly results in gender discrimination at work place. Organizational climate have a great impact when hiring new employees or when setting their salaries or when giving them benefits. Also managers play a great role in an organization as in male dominating organization manager usually does bias decision with regards to women.

This result in

Dissatisfaction of women in working environment

Large number of problems faced by women in an organization

Less benefits given to women in an organization

Mental stress

Less importance and value given to women work and decisions


The norms and expectations a community has regarding a women role in society as a home worker. Society is also taken as an independent variable as it directly results in gender discrimination at work place. It is social stigmata that in Pakistan, working women are taken and seen in a bad way also women are not allowed to work outside their homes as it has been taken against their family law. Also religion is one of the factor which stop women to work outside their house. Women are given less importance in our society as well as there is a great discrimination in families to. Girls are given less value and importance in some families which ultimately effect their education and results in less experienced and educated women. Culture also plays a significant role in gender discrimination.

This result in

Less economic growth

Less talent pool

Less opportunities for women


Attitudes are probably one of the most important independent variables that lead to gender discrimination at the workplace. Peer pressure, male dominance all play a significant part in women feeling under pressure at the workplace. Their colleagues may act cold, or not deem them capable enough to handle projects and tasks that are essential to professional growth. Mothers, especially, are highly discriminated against, because of the reason that a mother will not be devoting full attention and focus to her work, instead she will be more focused on her children; hence they should not be hired, because it will cost the company. Also it is believed that women are physically and mentally less strong and capable then men.

This result in

Sexual harassment

Less opportunists for married women

Gender Discrimination: biases against women in terms of organizational decision. It encompasses salary, hiring, promotion etc.


Relationship between organizational climate and gender discrimination, and how it affects the performance, salary, benefits and recruitment of women.

How society, prohibits women to work outside and affect their personal and professional lives and result in gender discrimination?

How women works and treated in male dominated society and how peer pressure effect women professional life?


H1: culture in an organization is a cause of gender discrimination at workplace.

Ho: culture in an organization is not a cause of gender discrimination at workplace.

H2: society is a factor effecting gender discrimination at workplace.

Ho: society is not a factor effecting gender discrimination at workplace.

H3: attitude does results in gender discrimination at workplace.

Ho: attitude doesn’t results in gender discrimination at workplace.


Type of research:

I have done both primary and secondary research.

Primary Research:

Primary research is very important as it give different perspective of people on one single issue that’s gender discrimination at workplace in my case. I have interviewed from senior executives of organizations and frontline employees. Then I had also distributing questionnaires among the employees of selected organization to know the further information they have regarding the topic.

Secondary Research:

Secondary research is also very important as it give the supporting knowledge about respective topic and also help one to correct what has been done wrong previously. For secondary research I have taken in account ten published research papers of scholars which help me to find respective independent variables with I have used for both my interview and questionnaires questions. The research paper which I have taken mostly have either research done by scholars by them selves or they have base their research or theories or research done by special departments like world statistic bureau and world census bureau.

Tool of Research:

The tools of research which I have taken in account for my research paper are as follows:

Research paper study: Different research papers written and published by different scholars are taken in account. From reading these papers I have also taken out important independent variables which help me to formulate my primary research.

Questionnaires: Questionnaire is also one of the research tools for my researches which give me the approximate ratio of the different thinking of people both men and women. The type of scales which I have used in my questionnaires are as follows:

Simple attitude rating: it is the most simple form of scale in which either respondent agrees or disagree with the question. Like YES or NO

Category scale: it is a kind of scale which provide respondent different category of responses with alternative rating. Like NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, OFTEN.

Likert scale: this is a form of rating scale which allows respondents to indicate that how strongly they agree or disagree with any statement. Like STRONGLY DISAGREE ……………STRONGLY AGREE.

Interviews: interviews will help me to get spontaneous and quick feed back from both executive level and frontline level employees. The types of interviews which I have taken are personal interviews, they are the one in which face to face questions has been asked. The questions are both in formal and in formal way.

Target Population:

Questionnaires: I have circulated fifty questionnaires among the employees of an organization. Out of sixty, thirty has been filed by women and twenty by men. The target population which I have selected is both from public and private sectors.

Interviews: I have interviewed from the senior and frontline managers of an organization. The totally interview which I will be conducting will be three in number. Two form senior manager and one from frontline staff.


The type of sampling which I have used for my research is QUOTA SAMPLING; this is a non probability sampling procedure that ensures that the population which has been selected has some common features which researcher wants. I have used this type of sampling because I will be only taking interviews of those people and making my questionnaire filled from those people who are working in a particular organization.

Interviews: I had taken three interviews, two from senior management and one from frontline staff. Ages ranges from 28-60. Two senior management are from SMEDA and BYCO PETROLEUM out of which one is male and one is female. Where as, I have interviewed women (front line staff) from PASSCO. For respondents responses look at appendix 2.

Questionnaires: I had circulated fifty questionnaires, thirty from female employee’s ages ranges from 25-45 and twenty from male employee’s ages ranges from 25-60. All the participants whom I selected were from private (byco petroleum, LACAS and surgemaid) and public (PASSCO, SMEDA, CMH and Garrison school). For questionnaire look at appendix 1.


I floated fifty questionnaires among fifty respondents, out of which thirty were female employees and twenty were male employees. I floated my questionnaires both in public and private sector. I did multiple regression using stat graphics on the data which I collected from the questionnaires. Multiple regression analysis includes any techniques for modeling and analyzing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. More specifically, regression analysis helps one understand how the typical value of the dependent variable changes when any one of the independent variables is varied, while the other independent variables are held fixed. The results which I computed from regression are as follows:

The above are the values which are commuted from multiple regression. Dependant variable in the above table is gender discrimination where as the independent variables are attitude, organizational climat


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