Gender discrimination in the workplace is not a new phenomenon; this has been an unfortunate occurrence to both men and women for decades. Recently, there has been a growing concern regarding how this discrimination causes victims to lose the motivation and morale to effectively do their job, leading to a loss of confidence and low self-esteem in the workplace. This paper explores the major factors that greatly influence and result in gender discrimination in the workplace. A questionnaire was administered to 100 employees (50 males and 50 females) of three used car dealerships located in the greater Southern California area.
The results of the study concluded that gender discrimination did exist in the workplace, and that women were treated more unfairly than men in the same position.
Gender discrimination involves granting or denying certain rights or privileges to a person solely based on their gender (Jansen & Kleiner, 1998). Even though women have made major strides regarding equality and basic civil rights, the issue of gender discrimination in the workplace is still a major issue.
The U.S. Employment Equal Opportunity Commission has attempted to enforce federal laws to ensure individuals are protected from gender discrimination in the workplace, yet in the year 2018, it is still a regular occurrence.
Sandhu et al. (2014) reported that preconceived notions exist regarding the capability and skills of women employees in certain corporations (Sandhu et al., 2014). These notions express themselves in the form of denied opportunities and promotions, harassment, and lack of financial compensation at the work place. A woman who has the same job title as a man, the same level of seniority, and equal responsibilities, but is paid less, is being discriminated against.
According to a 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Labor, women earn on average 80% of what men earn (Lisowska, 2009). If caught, employers can be sued under provisions of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and might be required to pay fines and issue back-pay (Lisowska, 2009).
Individuals that are discriminated against may feel so strongly about it that they might resort to destructive behavior as a way to retaliate. Examples of this destructiveness could include physical violence against others, destruction of property or propagation of malicious rumors about people in the company and the company itself.
100 participants (50 males and 50 females) from three Drive Time used car dealerships in Southern California (Downey, Torrance, and Montclair) were given a questionnaire with twenty closed-ended questions. The participants ranged in age from 25 years-old to 45 years-old. In addition, all of the participants were full-time employees with the company. Out of the 100 participants, five were sales managers (three men and two women). The other 95 participants held other non-managerial positions with the company, such as sales advisor, lot tech, or operations advisor.
A questionnaire consisting of twenty statements, which examined the existence of gender bias within the company, was prepared. The responses to these statements were based on a five-point Likert scale, with 1 indicating “strongly disagree,” and 5 indicating “strongly agree” with the statement. The questionnaire also contained questions on the profile of the respondents, such as gender and age. The questionnaire was pretested for validity and clarity on respondents conveniently selected from the relevant population.
Quota sampling was used because the questionnaires were filled from only those people who worked in a particular organization; in this case, all of the participants worked for Drive Time.
The data from the study was analyzed using a multiple regression. The dependent variable for the study was gender discrimination, whereas the independent variables were attitude, organizational climate and society. The results of the analysis showed a significant relationship between gender discrimination and two of the three independent variables.
Because the p-value in the ANOVA table was less than 0.05 (p = 0.00), it was concluded that there was a statistically significant relationship between gender discrimination and society at the 99% confidence level. There was also a significant relationship between gender discrimination and attitude (p = 0.00). Upon further analysis of the results, it was determined that the organizational climate did not have a significant relationship with gender discrimination as its p-value was 0.65.
Because of the sensitive nature of the subject and questions asked, there is a possibility that the respondents may not have given totally honest responses. The study established that preconceived notions regarding the capability and skills of women employees do in fact exist in the workplace. These notions expressed themselves in the form of denied opportunities and promotions, harassment, and lack of equal pay for equal work within the work place.
As a step forward for resolution, corporate training in gender sensitivity should be recommended for all employees, new and current. The best way to wipe out gender discrimination at the work place is to create a gender-neutral environment at home and at school. These are the initial learning grounds for children and early impressions created during infancy and childhood, though unintentional are deep and long lasting.