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Gender Discrimination and Performance in the Workplace


Gender discrimination today happens to be a great hindrance to optimal performance at the work place. This could be looked at from various perspectives more so on innovativeness and the quality of work.

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For developed countries for example where the economy is driven by service based industries the impact is high. While talking about the gender discrimination, both sexes are considered although on discrimination the female are mainly on the receiving end.

Statement of the problem

This paper looks women as the main victims of gender discrimination. Gender discrimination is not only contravention of the rights of humans but sums up to breaking of laws. This paper brings out this phenomenon and answers the question of gender discrimination and its impact on job performance and how to deal with the vice.

Women constitute high number of employees in environment where there are female stereotypes. They occupy positions such as the administrative and clerical among others. Pregnant women and those who are at the stage of giving birth are prohibited from getting jobs because of the conclusion that they prioritize their family.

This has an effect of exposing women in big offices which have huge salary, increased chances of moving up in the company. The paper also looks at possible way of dealing with gender discrimination at the workplace.

Literature review

Gender discrimination in the workplace is propagated by various factors such as culture, stereotypes and “fear of humiliation” as indicated by Gregory (2003). Our culture defines who we are and dictates what we do and believe. A person can only do what they believe to the ultimate objective.

In society which views women as lesser beings, then definitely this belief would drug itself to the work place. A person in the appointing authority for example would not appoint a woman to top positions if they have been made to understand that women aren’t entitled to such positions.

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The ‘fear of humiliation’ comes where managers have the fear of acknowledging that their female counterparts can do the same work they can do or even do it better.

For example in the case of an organization whose policy is to promote those who are innovative, when a woman emerges with an innovation the manager might decline promoting her since she might ‘usurp’ his powers. Gender discrimination comes in various forms at the work places. This could be in form of; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment or victimization (Dipboye & Colella, 2005).

Direct discrimination happens in situations where people are directly favored or disfavored at the work places by using parameters such as awarding of salaries and giving of job benefits by favoring a particular gender. Hidden discrimination is mainly brought out by failure to adhere to rules or setting up of rules that happen to favor a particular gender.

Gender based Harassment takes place in the places of work. This bears the highest impact. This is due to the fact that it happens to be both emotional and psychological effects that are usually negative. Sexual exploitation at the work places and within the working environment falls under this.

Victimization refers to treating of an employer in a manner that is unfair to the person and does not apply to the opposite sex counterparts. Victimization is one of the most common gender based discrimination found at the work places. Most of it comes from chauvinistic prejudices.


To promote quality work and increase the output of institution, gender discrimination has to be dealt with squarely. For one to deal with the challenges emanating from gender based discrimination, one has to look at key factors that promote this trend. This includes taking various steps such as, training, cultural change, and putting down appropriate policies.

Policy making is one of the effective ways of dealing with gender based discrimination in the work place. This is due to the fact that such policies would provide a framework over which work is done hence employers’ and employees’ actions are tied to the policies of the company or institution concerned.

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Legislation can also be passed as a mechanism of promoting gender equality. This legislation could be in the form of constitutional enactment or amendments or the general laws of various countries.

Kenya for example had a constitutional overhaul which provides for at least a third of recruitments done in the public sector to be composed of women. The aim of the new set up laws is to curb discrimination based on gender in all areas of human life (Gregory, 2003).

Training can also be done to the people and groups in organizations on why they should embrace gender equality. This is due to the fact that gender discrimination at the work place is people driven hence the need to train. The training will in a great deal with gender based stereotypes.


The world today experiences great challenges concerning management and delegation of duties in the work places. This has brought in the issue of gender equality which the corporate world is striving to achieve. Gender discrimination has led to various negative impacts in job performance.

Most of the victims of discrimination based on gender have their morale brought down. The low morale of a worker will definitely lead to poor results. It is a fact that most of the action taken by employees has a drive factor. If the working conditions aren’t conducive enough to discriminate on a worker, definitely the quality of work will go down (Cleveland, Stockdale & Murphy, 2000).

Creation of bottlenecks to getting to a job position by using the gender factor is a common form of gender discrimination. Such action goes in great way in propagating negative gender based stereotypes. This sometimes happens when managers have the fear of humiliation from performances brought up by their staff which could outshine them and hence bring down the confidence there followers have in them.

Gender discrimination can lead to negative effects to organizations such as reduced innovations and improvements. Innovations can only be possible if everyone in the work situation is comfortable with their working conditions. People tend to work well when their brains are well settled.

A gender discriminated employee is likely to take more time thinking of their negative predicaments hence may not be able to think connotatively and come up with an innovation. This would lead to the victim being unable to unleash their potential fully.

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The image of institutions can be watered down when gender discrimination thrive. If word goes round on what is happening with a certain conglomerate concerning gender discrimination, this would lead to negative publicity that could hurt the company’s wellbeing. The sexual abuses towards women today has the potential of watering down the credibility of the managers and hence the institution as a whole.

There has been reduced diversity of employee search for jobs. Haven’t you heard of someone saying that they cannot go or even apply for an interview because of a simple reason-they are likely not to be considered for the job? This brings in two aspects.

The first is that the person could be bearing negative self image based on their gender. The second is that its true there will be discrimination. This will automatically reduce the number of applications and hence the diversity of skills goes down. The employer will end up loosing the great expertise that is not in the market for selection.

One should determine if the workplace behavior of others sums up to discrimination based on gender. Discrimination may be looked at from various perspectives.

For example there can be gender based discrimination when contra positive action is taken by boss in repeatedly assigning you duties that were meant to be shared by your male counterparts of the opposite sex. If it has happened only once then this might not sum up to gender discrimination.

Another way of dealing with workplace gender discrimination is through engaging the people who heightens gender discrimination at the places of work. Such a step should be handled with a lot of caution as if not well handled could lead to massive damages to and among the workers.

This can happen since humans are prone to lack of identification of their discriminatory actions. Talking to the person involved in a proper way can lead to total change of the person not only to the victim but to others who would witness the change.

In dealing with gender discrimination in the workplace once one is sure of being discriminated against, they can contact the workplace human resources to seek solution to the problem. This is a key step to dealing with the problem once and for all. One should always do this in a manner that they will be able to protect their anonymity.

Other than having the problem sorted out internally, one can call for the support workers’ union or local government agency that handles workplace gender discrimination. Counseling can also be appropriate as it can help one deal with any gender stereotypes they could have acquired during or after being discriminated against (Stein, 2010).


Gender discrimination in the workplace has negatively impacted on the performance of the companies and institutions both directly and indirectly. This vice is also against the human rights as human conscience is applied more at work and not just the instinct.

While addressing this gender discrimination one should have in mind that there is no better sex hence the psychological view is dealt with since the inside leads to the outward which are the actions that either promotes or reduce gender discrimination at the work place. Companies and other institutions should work towards eliminating the vice since it largely works negatively to the institutional wellbeing hence reducing their profit margin.


Cleveland, J., Stockdale, M.S. & Murphy, K.R. (2000). Women and men in organizations: sex and gender issues at work. New York: Routledge

Dipboye, R. L. & Colella, A. (2005). Discrimination at work: the psychological and organizational bases. New York: Routledge

Gregory, R. F. (2003). Women and workplace discrimination: overcoming barriers to gender equality. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press

Stein, S. J. (2010). Make Your Workplace Great: The 7 Keys to an Emotionally Intelligent Organization. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons

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