Nowadays, women enjoy freedom like men. They have joined every field, competing with men and are doing great. Still, there are various issues with women’s rights that need to be addressed. Things are now much better than the past and some of the workplace laws have changed that are favorable to women. However, not many women know about their rights in the workplace. Knowing it will help them to cope up well in their workplace. Here are some of the major women’s rights issues in the workplace that you should know about.
Equality in hiring
According to law, men and women must be given equal opportunity when hiring. Employers cannot exclude a qualified woman from any available position. It has been a trend to hire less qualified men in a position in which women had applied, but this cannot be done anymore.
Equality in salary
In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was signed by the President of US John F. Kennedy. According to this law, women must be paid equal salary compared to men in the same position. Previously, women were paid much less than men. Now, women will be able to sue their employers if they are paid less than men for the same position.
Working during pregnancy
Women have been given the right to work during pregnancy. If a woman can work satisfactorily, then the employer won’t be able to exclude the woman from the job. Many companies now offer flexible parental leave. The maternity leave period has also been extended. In the past, many women had to choose between career and motherhood. But now, the companies offer various choices in terms of work and leave giving mothers better opportunity to continue their work while taking care of their children.
There are laws that protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. These include touching, passing sexual comments, any form of sexual advances, etc. A woman has the right to complain against these acts. If someone is found guilty, that person will be penalized. In the past, most women did not report sexual harassment cases to higher authorities in fear of losing jobs. But now many women have opened up and the improve workplace laws also give them protection.
No gender discrimination is now allowed in the workplace. Women now have a more favorable condition to work and they get an equal opportunity as men in the workplace. By knowing women’s rights in the workplace, you will be able to stand up to any kind of discrimination or other malpractices towards women in the workplace.
Women are getting sexually harassed at work all the time. This can be in the form of sexual comments, advances or forced sexual activity. In the past, many women were scared to speak up for losing their job. Now there are laws that protect women from sexual harassment. So, the number of women protesting against these cruel acts is improving. According to a research conducted by the Trades Congress and Everyday Sexism Project, more than half of the women in the workplace has suffered from sexual harassment at work.
Susan Hutchison of Hutchison & Stoy list the common types of sexual harassment that women have to face on her law firm website.
Comments or gestures are made for violated women’s dignity and creating an offensive and humiliating environment to work in. Comments or behavior that portrays insulting attitudes towards women, like obscene jokes or humor told verbally or sent by email, hanging pictures of naked women, commenting on women’s body, etc. Making negative comments about child care when a female employee has to leave early to take care of the baby or putting things really high up on the shelf for women to reach are also sexual harassments.
This means offensive or inappropriate sexual advances like sexual invitations, persistent phone call or letters, asking for a date, etc. This type of acts must be reported to the higher authority.
Soliciting sexual activity in a promise of reward is known as sexual bribery. This form of invitation is not allowed in the workplace.
If someone conducts sexual activity by threatening to punish a female employee then it’s called sexual coercion. This may include giving negative performance evaluations, threatening of job termination or not giving the deserving promotion to the employee.
This includes forceful touching, sexual assault or rape. There is a law against such act and it is violating workplace rules. Anyone who is involved in sexual imposition may end up in prison.
In many workplaces now there is an anti-harassment policy which protects women’s rights. The female workers must be aware of these policies and know what to do when they are being harassed. The HR professionals in companies must take equal opportunity training to make sure that there is no sexual harassment in the workplace. They should be aware of the policies so that they can take appropriate actions. Proper investigations must be made and sound judgment must be given to cases of sexual harassment at workplace.