In single-gender-dominated fields, discrimination can take on forms that people are unfamiliar with. The first step in ending discriminatory practices that create a hostile working environment is to identify them in the first place.
The damage of gendered workspaces
In an article from Business News Daily, the noted trends of “gendered” workplaces seem to be decreasing. Professions such as nursing, firefighting or car sales, which just women or men once dominated, are becoming more equally staffed.
The danger, however, is that even as workplaces move towards a 50/50 representation, stereotypes remain. Supervisors and co-workers still possess gendered assumptions, such as:
- Many consider male nurses less masculine than is appropriate and also less capable of basic nursing duties.
- Women firefighters face more “classical” gender discrimination and often experience pressure to “out man” others. They may also find themselves passed over for promotions and advancement.
- Women in sales aren’t aggressive enough, or they use their femininity to gain an unfair advantage. Men are both more capable salespeople and at a severe disadvantage.
The source of these subtler forms of discrimination is often structural. Industries considered more “masculine” or “feminine” begin with many gendered expectations of those working in them.
Gender discrimination in Michigan
No matter if the discrimination you faced conforms to the established definitions, Michigan state law holds workplaces to the same standard. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) maintains a strict policy. They investigate complaints and enforce the rules.
However, the MDCR may not be enough. If you’ve been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, either from management or your peers, you may consult with an employment law attorney to seek additional information and other avenues.
Your peers and employers should judge you on your work, not on the perception of what your work should be.