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GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT THE WORKPLACE

Updated: May 5

Author: Palak Nigam, I year of B.A.,LL.B. from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology School of Law, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.


INTRODUCTION

Gender Discrimination has been nascent for a long time. At the very beginning, this discrimination was not much related to work but as time went by and women also came into the working field, discrimination against women at the workplace started increasing. The Prejudices have taken place due to the patriarchal society in the country where there is a desire for the superiority of man to the opposite gender. This superiority somehow leads to the development of such a culture in a society that wanted to suppress the opposite gender. And from this perspective, gender biases and sexual harassment at the workplace started coming into the picture. This resulted in inequality on the parts of opportunities and compensations. In the 1950s Gender discrimination issues were highlighted but considered as the most important issue around the 1980s and 1990s. Gender discrimination exists in various areas like differences in wages, salary, promotion, participation, etc. It has still continued after the enforcement of equality laws. People discriminate against women on the grounds of work, healthcare, education. By making the laws and enforcing them does not mean that the discrimination is stopped or controlled but there must be some practices adopted by the organization of the company for social awakening and attitude change in the mindset of a male counterpart. This will not only help in reducing discrimination but also helps in women's empowerment. Many studies show different factors that diminish the involvement of women and participation in managerial leadership and in a position where decision making is important. It has been observed that these factors are interrelated which include- lack of adequate educational facilities, absence of commitment by the superiors body, backward socio-cultural attitudes, lack of insufficient experiences to women for holding and controlling the leading positions. All these factors are considered to be a hurdle in the empowerment of women.


HIGHLIGHTS AND KEY POINTS

1. Gender equality in the workplace refers to a variety of cultures, practices attitudes that promote or subvert attempts to create a gender-equal workplace but people living in a society discriminate between opposite gender because there is a mindset among the group of people men as superior to women and they will always remain superior.


2. The ‘Workplace’ is a broad term that comprises a range of work-related activities across the formal and informal economy, including the organized and unorganized sector.


3. In the workplace, the nature of power hierarchies dominates the male section of our society as men do not want that work under any female. We can say male dominating society doesn’t want that female to be senior to a male in any organization or she controls them.


4. To transform workplace culture, individuals and organizations need to reexamine gender biases that perpetuate unequal relations in the workplace. In an organization, strict norms must be made and followed in the case of any harassment against females.


COMMON FORM OF DISCRIMINATION AT WORKPLACE

Gender-based discrimination which is prevalent against women are as follows:

1. Women work both within the household and the marketplace. There is a general perception that girls are made just for household work and don't seem to be capable of performing labour work.


2. Women workers are paid different wages for identical work than men. They even have limited access to and control over resources, poor access to information, and improving skills. Women are over and over thought to be additional workers and that they also get discriminated against at the time of promotion or at the time of recruitment within the organization.


3. Women are mainly tasked with being low skilled, labour-intensive and as a work-related with the household sort of a babysitter, for cooking, etc. as this sort of intellectual comes from society and culture, they don’t want that ladies become more capable than men.


4. Women also get fewer benefits and less access to facilities. Welfare facilities and services like sanitary facilities, arrangements for drinking, eating and resting and transport, etc. are from time to time not regarded from a gendered perspective.


5. Women at the workplace also bear Verbal abuse which could be a style of discourteous and annoying conduct. Verbal maltreatment within the working environment will be delegated inconspicuous maltreatment and obvious maltreatment.


6. Sexual Harassment: Harassment could be an exemplification of gender inequality and is a major challenge faced by women across various sectors. because the definition of the ‘Workplace’ has inflated under the molestation Act, Shalini Yog from Heinrich Boll Stiftung rightly described it as both home-based work (weaving, footwear manufacturing, etc.) and informal sector work (in garment factories, construction work, agriculture). of these places are considered workplaces and folks have divided the work of males and females and men don't want to figure within the field of females as they feel it lowers their reputation.


LAWS IN INDIA FOR GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT WORKPLACE

The elimination of gender discrimination has one of the basics of the constitutional edifice of India. The principle of gender equality is embalmed within the constitution, in its Preamble, Fundamental rights and duties, and Directive principles. Harassment at the workplace in India was recognized first time by The Supreme Court of India within the judgment of Vishaka V. State of Rajasthan,[[i]] wherein the Supreme Court framed some guidelines and issued directions to the Union of India to enact an appropriate law for Combating Workplace molestation. After 16 years of Vishaka Guidelines, the luxurious act and Posh rules were enacted. In the absence of a selected law in India, the Supreme Court, within the Vishaka Judgment, laid down certain guidelines making it mandatory for each employer to produce a mechanism to redress grievances per workplace molestation ("Vishaka Guidelines") which were being followed by employers until the enactment of the luxurious Act.


1. THE VISHAKA JUDGEMENT

During this case, the girl was publically raped by a gang on account of her action to curb the then practice of child marriage. [[ii]] At that point, there were no guidelines issued so a PIL was filed within the Supreme Court. For the primary time, the Supreme Court acknowledged molestation at the workplace as somebody's right Violation. In framing the Vishaka Guidelines, the Supreme Court placed reliance on the Convention on Elimination of All varieties of Discrimination against Women, adopted by the last word Assembly of the world organization, in 1979, which India has both signed and ratified.

  • According to the Vishaka judgment, 'Sexual Harassment' incorporates such unbidden sexually determined conduct (whether directly or by implication) as Physical contact and advances

  • A requirement or request for sexual favours,

  • Sexually Colored Remarks,

  • Showing Pornography,

  • The opposite unwelcome physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct of sexual nature.

Where a lady finds anybody of the above- mentioned behaviour, she is liberal to complain against the person and an accurate act must be taken against that as elapsed by the Supreme Court of India.


2. THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT, 2013

The molestation of girls at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 may be a statute in India that seeks to safeguard women from harassment at their place of labour. The objective of passing this act is to ensure protection against harassment of girls at the workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of molestation. The govt. has threatened to require stern action against employers who fail to go with this law. [[iii]]

It addresses:

  • Sexual Harassment ends up in violation of the fundamental rights of a lady to equality under articles 14 and 15[[iv]] and her right to life and to measure with dignity under Article 21 of the constitution and right to practise any profession or to hold on to any occupation, trade, or business which incorporates a right to a secure environment free from molestation.

  • The protection against molestation and also the right to figure with dignity are universally recognized human rights by international conventions and instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of all types of Discrimination against Women.

The Act will make sure that women are protected against harassment in any respected workplace, be it publicly or privately. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work, leading to their economic empowerment and inclusive growth. These styles of laws also will contribute to the event of a rustic and the empowerment of ladies.

Some other laws are passed for the betterment of women and to eliminate Gender Discrimination that's prevalent in society. These laws provide protection and security to women and provide the proper equality to women. A number of these laws are the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application of Act 1937, Women’s Reservation Bill, etc.


RECENT DATA ABOUT WOMEN IN INDIA

According to The Economist, the rate of female employment in India, including both the formal and informal economy, has tumbled from an already low 35% in 2005 to easily 26% in 2018. During this time the economy has over doubled in size and also the quantity of working-age women has grown by 1 / 4, to 470m.

The labour participation rate for women is declining. [v] As the GDP of India increases, there is also an increase in the Indian economy and a working-age population expected to climb to over 800 million people by 2050. [[vi]] Despite this growth, but one-quarter of ladies aged 15 older participate within the labour force as of 2020.[[vii]] Increasing Women’s proletariat participation by 10 percentage points could add $770 billion to India’s GDP by 2025. [[viii]]


Many workers in India are at probability of Job Deracination due to Cybernetics. 12 Million women could even be displaced by automation by 2030. This can be often reminiscent of approx.10% of women’s employment in India. Women are discriminated against across various sectors, including core, which circumscribes infrastructure-related sectors like oil and gas (7%); automotive (10%); pharmaceutical and healthcare (11%); and knowledge technology (28%). India incorporates a High Gender Pay Gap. Supported hourly wages, women earn, on average, 65.5% of what their male colleagues earn for performing the same work.[[ix]]


GLOBAL GENDER GAP INDEX

The Global Gender Gap Index is published by the World Economic Forum headquartered in Cologny, Switzerland. In 2020, India has slipped to 112th from its 108th position in 2018. [[x]] The Index is topped by Iceland which means there is no gap between men and women. Both are considered equal and there is no gender discrimination between them.


CONCLUSION

The article aims to put forward the factors that are responsible for the inequalities prevent in our society and find out the solutions that can be implemented for decreasing Gender discrimination in the workplace and improving India’s rank on the Global Gender Gap Index. Due to Change in the environment, we can see that there is the active participation of women in every field for jobs and also in some professional fields. But still, there is a lot of discrimination that is faced by the working women at the workplace in day-to-day life. At the workplace there are factors identified as some gender stereotypes that exist in the mind of the people working in the organization. There are discriminatory issues which have to be dealt with on priority as females are also as equal as a male that means to enhance employee’s orientation towards gender sensitivity for females. The above article is also written in terms of factors identified by various researchers and the laws passed by the government in promoting the rights of women at any organization.


[[i]] 1997 6 SCC 241: AIR 1997 SC 3011

[[ii]] Indira Jaising, Law Relating to Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (2014)

[[iii]] In the constitution of India

[[iv]] In the constitution of India

[[v]] Bansari Kamdar, “Women Left Behind: India’s Falling Female Labor Participation,”

[[vi]] Bansari Kamdar, “Women Left Behind: India’s Falling Female Labor Participation,”

[[vii]] World Bank Group, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Female (% of Female Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate) – India,” The World Bank Databank (2020).

[[viii]] The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the Asia Pacific

[[ix]] World Economic Forum, “Data Explorer: India,” The Global Gender Gap Report 2020

[[x]] Global Gender Gap Index, 2020