While gender discrimination can impact people in any field, it is more common in certain careers than others. Some signs that your field or career could be a hotbed of gender discrimination are obvious.
You could be the only female worker in your department. You could field questionable comments or questions from managers, co-workers or even potential clients because of your gender. Your company or department could have a culture that embraces sexist attitudes, allowing male coworkers to do, wear and say things that you find discriminatory or harassing. Other times, issues can be more subtle.
You may find that no matter how hard you work, supervisors or clients don't take your opinion as seriously. Others may dismiss your questions and contributions, only to embrace them excitedly when they come from a male coworker. You could discover, after working your way up the pay scale for years, that male workers get hired in at higher rates or just paid more. If you are making less than equally experienced and educated males in your field or at your company, you could be experiencing discrimination at work.
Pushing forward is the best way to battle discrimination
Just because your coworkers or managers are intimidated by your gender, intelligence and professional experience doesn't mean you should have to deal with harassment or discrimination. You should get rewarded for your efforts and penalized or disciplined in the same manner as everyone else in your field or department.
In certain industries, gender discrimination is more common than in others. According to Forbes, the ten worst industries for gender discrimination in pay are:
- finance and insurance
- public administration
- professional, scientific and technical services
- health care and social assistance
- mining, quarrying and oil and gas industries
- retail trade
- company and enterprise management
Women who work in these fields are more likely to receive unequal pay or get treated in a discriminatory or inappropriate manner. While you could feel tempted to just throw in the towel, your best option will generally be to fight for fair treatment.
You can start by addressing issues with your internal management and human resources teams. If they cannot or will not address your concerns, you should begin documenting the issues you experience. You may have to file a lawsuit against your employer to put an end to discrimination at work.
Whether you work in information technology or health care, you deserve a fair wage and a safe employment environment. If your employer allows harassment or discrimination, whether it's overt or subtle, you should stand up for your rights. Not only can doing so improve your career, it can help protect those who come after you as well.