This project will be focusing on gender inequality and specifically the inequality or discrimination that occurs in the workplace. In order for us to have a deeper understanding of this topic, we need to know what gender inequality really means: Gender inequality can be defined as a term of discrimination against particular sex or gender such as a situation where particular sex or gender is more favored than the other in the society or certain culture.

This is most detrimental to women as in the world in general a large proportion of women have been put in a particular disadvantage or stereotype when compared to men.

There are so many situations where men are more favored compared to women examples of where this attitude is common in the following; I) Religion – in so many churches around the world today a woman is not allowed to be a leader because they tell men that they are supposed to be in charge as opposed to women who are usually told from the leaders in religion (churches) that they are supposed to support and be the helper for the man while they shine in the spotlight.

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Other institutions as politics and even the home we see this behavior as something that is repetitive where women come second to the man.

For this project, we would focus on discrimination and inequality against women in the labor force, in other words, the workplace. First of all what is discrimination? Or what can be qualified as discrimination is just simply when a person considering whatever (their sex, sexuality, and otherwise) is seen as inferior to another.

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There are two main types of discrimination or in other words, gender inequality which are; the first one is called direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is seen as seen as the situation where one sex is treated less favorably than the other sex that is it to say it is majorly because of the sex of the person that is the reason for the unfavorable or unequal treatment. Examples of such a situation is where a woman is been refused to be promoted to a certain position simply because the company feels it is a man’s position. Now, indirect discrimination is the situation when there are a practices or policy or a rule which is meant to apply to everyone in the same way and manner but has more detrimental effect on some particular or a large proportion of individuals than the other

Legal Focus on Gender Inequality in the Workplace (U.S.A)

There are eight main acts or laws that did not only pave the way for the fundamental women’s rights in the workplace but it is what was created to protect a women’s right to work in the U.S.A and prevented them from the following laws used in the U.S.A

Fair Labor Standards Act 1938

Although this law was intended to be specifically catered for women and it generally protects both sexes from inequality in the workplace. However, it helps to provide for women especially back then for them to earn a living (That is to have a monthly salary). When President Franklin Roosevelt signed this bill to be pass into law in 1938 women minimum earning was at 25 cents and this raised up to 7.25 cents per hour.

This law favored women especially those who were and are considered to be single mothers. Although, the minimum wage is not up to what can sustain and maintain a household especially for single mothers in which this law was created for but however this law was crucial for the federal laws that sported women.

The equal pay in 1963

This law that set in place made it completely illegal for any workplace o pay women less than a man because of their gender.

Even though this act still has a long way to go in improving the main rules in the workplace, however, this allows women in the various workplace file a claim that is against the employers that dispatched an unequal pay based on their sex, this claim should be filed with the equal employment opportunity commission (EEOC) or the victim can go directly to the court with their complaint. If this complaint pulls through the claimant will be given or rewarded back wages, future wages, and attorney fees.

Title VII of the civil rights Act 1964

The title vii civil rights act is actually an important rule out of all the rules or laws/acts. Especially concerning discrimination or inequality towards women. This law actually came into law by accident because it was highly debated that it will be more bad than good if it was into law unfortunately this was still passed into law. This bill or law is more focused on discrimination in the workplace which it states that if an employer has 15 employers and more it makes it illegal to discriminate their employees solely based on their sex or gender.

The pregnancy discrimination Action of 1978

This act basically protects pregnant women from being discriminated in or within the workplace. There will be a serious misuse or breach of the law if the pregnant women in question have complications with her pregnancy and this is because of the discrimination that faced at their workplace.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

For women, before this law was passed into law in 1993 there was nothing of taking a leave of absence when you have to take care of the child they could legally give your jobs to another person. In regards to this law, a woman who is under the employee that has or is in charge of 50 employees they are allowed to take at least 12 weeks off (leave) in order to cater to their newborn and this will be a paid leave. Also, this law can also be directed to men as well.

Uniformed services employment and Reemployment rights act 1994

This mainly deals with women in the military it protects them in the sense that their employers will be breaching or violating this law if they do not accept this employee back in that workplace.

The patient protection and affordable care act 2010

This law was created under the Obamacare healthcare scheme. It helps employers to provide for their employees especially when their institution is so persons up. They are responsible in providing time and private space where women that are breast feeding can have the time to themselves.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs act 2017

According to s.13307 (a), it focuses on the fact that monetary payments that are usually made by businesses this is used to settle claims of sexual harassment were tax-deductible as a business expense.

The Legal Focus on Gender Inequality at the Workplace (Nigeria)

Here, there are various laws that can be found under the workplace and its environment (especially the behavior toward discrimination of gender). There aren’t any specific laws like the U.S.A where they are for women and their protection in the workplace but the main laws that is found under the employment sector in Nigeria can still be used for the woman in the workplace.

The main employment laws in Nigeria are the following:

  • The constitution of the federal republic in 1999.
  • The Labor Act of 2004.

The Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (1999)

This first states that: “Citizens have the fundamental equality right and also opportunities that are granted based on the aw, It goes on to states that it will also be in charge of ensuring that all citizens of Nigeria do not experience any form of discrimination whether it not at the workplace. Most especially the workplace which is any institution should give equal chance in gaining a good and efficient job or form of livelihood disregarding that person’s gender. “In chapter iv of the Nigerian constitution, it handles civil and also the political rights of all citizens of Nigeria. It goes on further to say that every citizen whether their ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, or also their personal political opinion has the right to freely express whatever and it will be illegal to discriminate on whomever.

 The labor Act 2004

This is considered to be one of the most comprehensive legislation or law that is found under labor law in Nigeria. Basically, this legislation does not have any specific laws or provisions that expand on solely focus on equal opportunities when it comes to employment regardless of your gender, sexuality, religion, etc. However, the labor law 2004 mainly both the employer and the employee the freedom to enter or recruit in a contract with whoever they feel comfortable doing so and they do not have the right to judge or exclude anyone based on their gender and most especially. Now there is another law that is used to protect women or discrimination against women in the police force mot especially. This is the police act in 2004.

Police Act of 2004

This act was supposed not discriminatory against women in the force but it turns out that it is considered to be very discriminatory against women. It is seen that living promoting, marriage, and even pregnancy and childbirth. According to living it only hired women from the age of 19 while a man can gain employment in the police force as early as 17 years of age. When it comes to marriage if women are seen to be single she has to stay a minimum of 3 years in the police academy and in-service before they can enlist or apply for leaving on the excuse of marriage and all of this has to be cleared before that policewoman official can get married. Now an example of the case here is the Empowerment and legal Aid Initiative (WELA)

Attorney General of the Federation

This is where regulation 124 was contested based on the fact that this regulation made it important for policewomen to get permission from the higher ups before they are allowed to marry. It was finally held by the court that this regulation 124 as illegal and also should be null and void.

History Of Gender Inequality In The Workplace U.S.A

Over time, there are various cases that explain gender inequality or discrimination that occurs in the workplace in the U.S.A. There cases that are stated below show not only the negativity of gender inequality but also the positive effects these cases gave for there to be more equality between both genders in the workplace but also the initial steps taken to empower women.

The following are the cases;

  • Allonby v. Accrington and Rosendale College (2004) -: This was the case where a female lecturer was considered to be of the same value as the male lecturers in that particular college. However, according to a contract, since the female lecturer was self-employed and that self-employed lecturers are not usually qualified for the occupational pension scheme that is usually set in place for workers. So it was held that according to Article 141 treaty of the European community it made it possible that there should equally pay for both sexes.
  • Chen-Oster v. Goldman Sachs &Co (1976) -: This is the case where the plaintiff was involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit where it accuses Goldman Sachs is involved routine discrimination against the female professional employees which was the violation of the Title Vii of the civil rights act 1964. The complaint states that the firm shows preference to the male associates more than the female associates and this is shown when the male associates are being promoted more even though the female associates are shown to be more qualified. It was held that the plaintiff claim was moved to an injunction which was under the Rule 23(b) (2).
  • C. Craig v. Boren (1976) -: This occurred in Oklahoma where women who are above the age of 18 are permitted to only purchase 3.2% beer whereas men could buy alcohol at the age of 21. The claimant in question (Craig) brought the lawsuit against the alcohol seller. It was finally held that there was no major harm done therefore charges were dropped.
  • Chrapliwy v. Uniroyal Inc (1982): In this case, this was when a plaintiff filed a motion on a certain class of liability and this led to a preliminary injunction. Two years later, the Uniroyal applied and filed for a cross-motion to clear out that prior judgment.

History Of Gender Inequality In The Workplace (Nigeria)

Gender inequality in Nigeria has always been embedded in the core of society in Nigeria. Nobody can tell when there was any actual complaint made about gender discrimination in the past. However, it was only a few years back that it women in Nigeria started to be aware of gender discrimination/inequality and there are legal cases that can be shown where women started to speak up and allow their voice to heard especially when it came to this topic.

Cases such as; Mojekwu v. Mojekwu (1997), Ukeje v. Ukeje and Okonkwo v. Okagbue.

These cases only show gender inequality in the society as a whole but when it comes to gender discrimination in the labor force there are no known examples of gender inequality in the labor force in this country. Statistics show how women are treated in the labor force. In Nigeria, if we are looking at the statistics online or on record, it states that 50% of women in Nigeria but in actual reality, it is only 31% of women in Nigeria that are working and have proper jobs. So in other words, the role of the women in the workplace is seen to be very minimal.
This is a fact that can be seen in the following sectors that are found under the labor force in Nigeria; Civil services, industries and generally the federal civil services and this sector is the most job sector in Nigeria that employs people for work in the country. Now, women who are employed here are usually appointed for junior positions in the sector, these junior positions vary from Secretaries, Assistants all the way to receptionists and cleaners.

Due to this, many women have to resort finding a living for themselves such as there are cases of many women in the country being entrepreneurs for women who have degrees while other women who don’t have that luck or opportunity as others tend to sell wares in various market place across the country and other settle themselves with petty trading.

According to the nation’s gross national product, it is said that 30% of women which from the above-stated statistics it is seen that it is the majority of women that is recorded to be in the workforce. However, this percentage of women are considered to be unpaid by employers twice more than men. Women in Nigeria are mainly seen useful for childbearing and to take care of the home than t go out and look for a job because getting a job or providing for the family is known in this society as the job of the man.

Discrimination In Occupational Pensions

There are other countries apart from the countries of focus that deal with gender inequality so here will be looking at other places such as the EU (European countries). Here we will be focusing on the occupational pensions. According to Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome, it states that Men and Women have to both receive equal pay especially for those (men and women) that are doing the same type of job and putting an equal amount of time. The European court of justice in 1986 held that there will be profit gained according to the occupational pension scheme and they will be paid accordingly which can be related back to Art.141. This can be found in Bilka v. Kaufhaus Gmbett v. Wember von Hartz.

Occupational pensions especially regarding to the EU is considered to be complex therefore it can be explained as the following:

  1. Prohibiting the part-time workers in having access to gaining occupational pension is an outright breach of Article 141 especially if this exception is to discriminate whether directly or indirectly. However, it has to be clearly shown that there has to be an honest need when it comes to the part of that particular business.
  2. The dependants’ gains are seen under the scope of Article 141 as well, however, this is under the principle of equality and this scheme shows that this pension is mainly for the workers surviving/living spouse and this can be seen in the case: Ten Oever v.Stiching.
  3. Contradictory to Article 141, a pension scheme is to gift a pension that will take into account that the particular worker will not be able to get their state pension. So since the Men and Women historically and normally collect their pension from the state there would not be any discrimination or considered to be discrimination because this is seen as normal. This can be referred to the case (Roberts v. Birds eyewalls ltd).
  4. Now, Trustees of a certain occupational pension fund and even though they don’t or they aren’t the ones that primarily gain and also when it comes to employment relationship they are obligated to ensure that there is compliance in relation to the principle of equal treatment which is under Art. 141 (Coloroll pension trustees ltd v. Russell).
  5. When it comes to the social security schemes, this comes from the national legislation, which is in addition to retirement pensions and also this does not fall under Article 141 and this does not arise from the employment relationship and this can be seen in the case of Bestuur van het Algemeen v. Beune). When it comes to the reduction of pay it can be related to the case of Barber v. Guardian Royal exchange Assurance group.

According to the pension’s act 1995, it states that there has to be equal treatment when it comes to benefits this should be in respect of the pensionable services whether before or after 17 may 1990. However, this will be seen as a defense if the treatment is deemed to be unequal due to alternate factors. The clause for equal pay under the pension’s act 1995 has to be put or inserted in all employment contracts and this should be done or also put under any occupational pension benefits. The exceptions of this act are two important ones which are; Death and Retirement and this is excluded from the sex discrimination against in relation to the retirement and also of the field of promotion, training, transfer, and demotion, and also dismissal.

Therefore, whatever will be referred to a man it should be the same for women as well.

Apart from gender inequality in the labor force, there are other parts of the society that also can see gender discrimination and there are various organizations that protest women and men against preferential treatment regarding their gender. There are 10 main organizations that help with that they are:

  1. Interaction
  2. Equality Now
  3. Pro Mundo
  4. Care
  5. Sone gender justice
  6. International planned parenthood
  7. Center for health and social justice
  8. White ribbon
  9. UN Women
  10. The gender and development network.
Cite this page

Gender Discrimination at Work. (2020, Sep 15). Retrieved from

Gender Discrimination at Work
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