Gender discrimination is the unequal treatment of someone based on sex.
In the workplace, gender discrimination is illegal if this discrimination affects the “terms or conditions of employment.”
(i.e. hiring/firing/promotions, pay, job classification, benefits)
Nevertheless, gender equality is a hot issue:
- Just 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women. In the U.S. only 17 percent of corporate board seats and 25 percent of senior management positions are held by women, even though women make up nearly half the workforce.
- Despite attempts to debunk the wage gap statistic, women only earn 77 percent of what men earn for the same job or amount of work. At this rate, it could take a full 45 years before the wage gap disappears.
We have stereotypes about what constitutes leadership, and it is much aligned with our stereotypes about who men are and who women are.
When we think about how leadership is defined, we tend to think more naturally about men as leaders than women.
Not surprisingly, men are expected to be confident, opinionated and assertive, while women are expected to be nurturing, compassionate and passive.
Women therefore are not top-of-mind when we think about leadership, which hinders the ability to move ahead toward gender diversity and equality.
Unless we as women play a major role in abolishing gender stereotypes, gender equality will never be a true option.