Funky Girl stories

5 Issues Women Still Face At Their Workplace

Nisha Joshi
Written by Nisha Joshi

And What Leaders Can Do To Counter Them

Women contribute to 46% of the total workforce. That makes it almost half of the entire working population. Yet, they continue to encounter challenges when it comes to getting promotions or even in day-to-day interactions.

Without much ado, we list here the most important issues that working women are trying to overcome at their workplace and what employers can do to make life easier for them.

1. Pregnancy discrimination

How do you deal with people if you are judged for being pregnant? In fact, many people question a female candidate during her interview on her marital status and whether she plans to have a child in the near future! Many women think twice before starting a family because, invariably, it is the woman’s career that is affected. Women return to work after maternity leave only to realize that their profile has changed or they have been traded over for someone less experienced than them. Many new mothers have no other option than to continue the job without any growth or simply resign.

What leaders can do:

  • Consider pregnancy as a natural part of life (which it is) and factor in pregnancy and delivery into the growth of a female employee.
  • Grant paternity leave to make employees so that the playing field is more level.

2. Unequal pay

It is 2019, and women still earn less than men for the same amount of work. This is seen not only in corporate offices but in every walk of life. In fact, popular Hollywood and Bollywood actresses have started raising their voice against this discrimination.

What leaders can do:

  • Conduct wage audits and keep transparency in salary.
  • Implement a “no negotiations” policy

3. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a widespread issue with many women reporting some sort of harassment while at work. It need not be physical – verbal harassment, passing lewd comments while within earshot are also considered sexual harassment. The sad part is that many women do not escalate matters fearing consequences. This causes many problems for the employer: increased absenteeism, low productivity, less or no teamwork, and high job turnover rate. On a personal front, women may experience depression and anxiety, sometimes quitting the job rather than continuing with the torture.

What leaders can do:

  • Educate all employees on equity and equality.
  • Ensure anonymous reporting mechanisms.
  • Investigate each complaint and take remedial action.

4. Being at the bottom rung of the career ladder

In general, whenever you see a person in a high post, 9 out of 10 times, it is a man! Have you ever wondered how this happens? The old-age stereotype that men are “leaders” and can “take charge” puts women back to the place where they started from. While men are considered leaders by default, women have to prove their worth by putting in more effort, and yet are sometimes bypassed. A woman who has climbed too quickly up the ladder is usually looked upon with suspicion of having bribed the higher-ups with personal favours, either sexual or otherwise. Women are also often referred to by extremes – too hard, too soft, too competent. They are never “just right” for promotion.

What leaders can do:

  • Consider only work outputs for promotions instead of gender.
  • Challenge your perceptions – reverse genders and try judging to see if it makes any difference in your thinking.

5. Flexible timings

Many women, especially working mothers, find it very difficult to manage strict work timings. In the rush to complete work,both their home-life and work-life suffers. The quality of work goes down significantly, affecting the employer as well. Such work-life imbalance causes much stress in women, sometimes leading to severe depression. Men, on the other hand, are not expected to manage much on the home front, so they are a bit more laid-back than women.

What leaders can do:

  • Focus on productivity and results rather than time spent at the desk.
  • Talk with people who offer flexible work timings to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Consider offering flexible timings for all employees to ensure that they enjoy working.

There’s still a long way to go for women to be treated at par with men at their workplace. But these changes, small though they are, will help going a long way.

What do you think are other problems women face at their workplace? Share them with us and add to the list!

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About the author

Nisha Joshi

Nisha Joshi

Homemaker, new mother, true punekar, bookworm, blogger, photographer, budding chef, music enthusiast, likes to keep her fingers in many pies!

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