We can’t deny the fact that the role of women in society has been radically changed in the past few decades.
From running a jet plane, teaching kids to serving as admin head or company executive, women are seen playing each role with aplomb.
They are not only cherishing their fulfilling careers, but also some of them are outrunning men. Despite these incredible advances, women still have to face a lot of work issues and professional challenges at workplace.
Problems Faced by the Women in Workplace:
1. Sexual Harassment:
Sexual harassment at workplace is one of the most widespread problems that women face.
Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual behaviour, be it verbal or physical, and has profound impact on women.
Sexual harassment doesn’t necessarily mean touching the private parts of any woman, it ranges from offensive comments, showing obscene pictures or videos, threats to sexual assault to an unwanted sexual favour.
In return of promotion, salary hike there are a few employers who try to take sexual advantage or favours from female workers. When it comes to female workers in low-wage jobs, the negative consequences of sexual harassment is the worse.
Apart from this any other unnecessary verbal activities or gestures like remarks about appearance, gender based insulting comments, whistling, and cracking adult jokes come under sexual harassment. This type of harassment even sometime leads to molestation and rape in workplace.
2. Pay inequity:
It is one of the most major issues that women employees have face at their workplace.
Most of the time despite of being more proficient and qualified than fellow male employees, women workers are paid less than males for the same amount of work.
Women are almost half of the workforce still they earn less than men workers in almost every single occupation.
According to researchers, occupational segregation due to gender and few other factors, play the major role in pay equity at workplace.
During the last couple of decades, women have shown tremendous courage by opting jobs that were previously done exclusively by men. In spite of this commendable effort, there has been a little progress in the gender integration of work.
Women are still considered to be worthy to get low pay and their effort and hard work are undermined in front of the male co-workers. Even sometimes along with pay inequity, they face discrimination in respect of recruitment, salary hike, position up gradation and many more.
3. Lesser women in the workforce:
This is a persistent work problem in a number of developed nations of the world and also has become a matter of concern for the analysts.
Studies have shown that in most of the multi-national companies the ratio between men and female employees are uneven.
Women are highly discriminated and men always get an upper-edge compared to women during recruitment.
In spite of having all the required qualification, talent and expertise, women find it difficult to get selected for a position as several concepts like women are emotional, they are physically and mentally weak, can’t give sufficient time, maternity issues and several other things come in the way.
4. Chilly workplace environment and lack of family support:
Increasing work pressure combined with chilly workplace environment seems to be another main factor that troubles women at workplace.
The importance of working in a supportive and healthy office atmosphere with a group of understanding colleagues can’t be overstated.
A personally fulfilling job and a handsome salary can’t even make a woman employee satisfied if she has to spend her day at workplace with a group of unsupportive men colleagues. This isolated feeling can lead to boredom and stress, gradually losing her efficiency and confidence.
Apart from this, lack of family support for household responsibilities is another major reason that leads to stress and conflicts for female workers who are trying to balance both job and family.
5. Poor security:
Poor security at the workplace is another pivotal concern that women have to deal with. Women working in night shifts fall victim of several crimes due to inadequate security arrangement by the higher management.
Incidents of driver or another male employee assaulting a woman worker in office transport has been reported every second day.
Due to lack of proper security arrangements by the company, women specially working in night shifts have become victims of rapes and sexual abuses.
6. The absence of role model at workplace:
We learn by following the footsteps of others. Even at workplace young professionals look up to senior counterparts to learn the tricks and trades of business.
In this male dominated society women employees often don’t find female role model to follow, so they have to seek help from male colleagues for guidance.
But the nuances in the communication style of men to a women and lack of mentor ship hinder the growth of women at workplace.
7. Pregnancy discrimination:
Pregnancy discrimination happens at workplace when an employer discriminates a female worker on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
Pregnancy discrimination can comprise any kind of negative employment actions taken owing to an employee’s pregnancy or other related medical conditions, including firing or demoting a woman worker, restriction to work, treating a pregnant worker in a different way than other temporarily disabled workers etc.
Though as per the law pregnancy and other related medical conditions related to it are considered as temporary disability, most of the employers deny giving benefits and same treatments to the women workers that they give to other employees with temporarily disabilities.
8. Insufficient maternity leaves:
Insufficient maternity leave is another problem that troubles working women at workplace.
After a certain period of time the female worker has to join work regardless of the health and safety issues and condition of the baby and the employee herself, otherwise she will be without pay.
This not only hampers their performance at office, but is also takes a toll to their personal lives. In some private organizations employers can even fire the female employee due to extended maternity leaves.
9. Gender biasness:
Men are usually given unfair advantage compared to the female employee, no matter the degree and qualification she has.
In this male dominating society, guys are considered more intelligent, efficient and hardworking than girls.
It is a common notion of everyone that women are weaker and taking care of family, kids is their main responsibility. This gender discrimination in the workplace can lead to job dissatisfaction and stress in working women.
Due to this, woman also lacks motivation and commitments towards her job. Be it home or workplace, women are given lesser opportunity everywhere than men.
Steps Management Can Take to Solve the problem of working women:
Regardless of the size of the company or the designation of the woman at workplace, it is the responsibility of employers to provide safe, friendly and conducive workplace to all the women employees.
In order to achieve this there are several organizations who take few effective steps and policies.
1. Forming grievance cell or complaints committee:
The committee will listen to the complaints of women employee and investigate independently, keeping the identity of the employee under wrap.
The usefulness of this kind of committee is very prevalent in sexual harassment cases. With this kind of investigation committee, women employees feel safer at workplaces.
Besides, management should organize education campaigns for women employees to help them know their rights issue.
2. Appropriate work condition:
Employers should try to give suitable work situation to women to make sure that there is no unfriendly atmosphere for the female workers.
The employers should make the women employees feel easy, to come to them to share their workplace problems.
3. Proper security:
This is one of the most important factors which are needed to be taken care of well by the employers.
Besides, providing safe cab facility they have to ensure that women employees do not work late hours.
If in case, she needs to stay back to complete work, the office authority should take extra care of her security and safety.
Giving sufficient maternity leaves and day care conveniences for working moms is something that employers should do to create a better work environment for ladies.
There are several companies who have implemented programs to curb structural biases against women at workplace and invite their full participation in at all level of management and leadership.
Challenges that are Still Troubling Woman at Workplace:
Steps and corrective measures are being taken up by management and employers to provide female employers with a better workplace by eliminating gender discrimination and biasness from offices.
The number of working women is increasing day by day but still there are certain women issues and barriers that they have to come across and tackle at workplace.
Women are still considered as easy target by their fellow male colleagues. Women are much vulnerable so higher management and even colleagues harass them by cracking obscene jokes, passing derogatory comment or trying to touch their private parts etc.
In such cases, most of the women remain silent and try to ignore them in fear of losing job.
Even some of them prefer to quit job as they believe lodging a complaint against the culprits will not help them anyway.
In most of the cases the higher authority or management doesn’t support the victim. Laws are there to protect working women against sexual harassment but only if complaints are lodged.
2. Negative attitudes of male co-workers:
In most of the cases working women feel humiliated with the attitude and derogatory remarks passed by their male colleagues.
It is believed by most the men that women are hired only to add glamour and colour to the office environment.
This kind of unhealthy work atmosphere, lack of support from colleagues and higher authority leads to job dissatisfaction and less productivity for women.
Higher management should take some steps to create a healthy and conducive work environment for ladies.
3. Lower pay-scale:
Women are paid less because management has a preset notion that she will leave the job after having children or marriage.
While harassment, bullying etc. are vivid acts in offices, lower pay scale is something that kills the confidence of a female employee from inside.
It is a silent crime and no one can compliant about it. Women should be vocal about their right, remaining silent means that you are also supporting this shameful act.
Employers should ensure that equal wages are paid to women employees without gender discrimination.
4. Safety and Security:
Women employees are not safe in office, not even in transports. Incidents of rape and sexual assault in office cab are making headlines everyday on newspapers.
Women have been the victims of sexual harassments by the male colleagues or driver. This needs to be stopped and for this, higher authority must take necessary steps.
How to Solve These Issues?
Policies and laws can’t change the scenario or diminish the issues that are suffered by female employees at workplace, the mindset and the level of acceptance of people requires to be altered.
To face these challenges tactfully and overcome them successfully, women need to be self confident and aware of the women rights.
Allowing females to work out of home in different sectors doesn’t only signify that our society gives equal treatment to men and women, but also it shows that the problems at work which are the result of gender discrimination to some extent can be easily managed and solved.
When we will be able to give a better and conducive workplace to the women employees, we can say proudly that women and men are treated equally in society.
There are several laws and polices made to ensure women safety at workplace but due to the deficiency of awareness and proper implementation none of them is helpful when it comes to protection of females from harassments, gender biasness, gender inequality in the workplace.
Nowadays there are several companies who are coming up with new policies and rules to offer safe and secure work atmosphere to the female employees. There is a sheer need to educate men, tell them respect their female colleagues and implement gender equality in the workplace. They should change their attitude and try to accept that female employees are efficient and can perform better than them.