Gender and sexual discrimination
Internationally, the United Nations concludes that
women are facing a global glass ceiling and that in no society do women enjoy the same
opportunities as men. In the most developed country, the USA, the Glass Ceiling Commission
states that between 95 and 97 per cent of senior managers in the country's biggest
corporations are men (...)The term 'glass ceiling' describes the process by which women are
barred from promotion by means of an invisible barrier.
- Canadian women executives don't feel fully accepted into executive-level culture, according to a POLLARA survey.
Traditionally, sexual differences have been used to
justify male-dominated societies in which women have been given inferior and secondary roles
in their working lives. There are differences between men and women, other than the physical,
but there is little agreement as to what they are.
- Most employers do not intend to check that they are paying women fairly, despite the fact that the gap between women's and men's average full-time pay is still 19% per hour.
- integration of women into administrative and professional positions at state governmental bureaucracies has been slow over the past decade
Definitions vary considerably but most are agreed that it is sexual attention which is unwanted, repeated and affects a woman's (usually) work performance or expectations from her job. However, it is possible for one incident to be sufficiently severe to be regarded as as harrassment. It differs from sexual banter or flirting since it is one-way; it does not have the involvement and acceptance of both parties. In the USA the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has extended the definition of sexual harrassment to include a range of actions which lead to a 'hostile working environment'. The definition includes unwelcome touching, joking, teasing, innuendos, slurs, and the display of sexually explicit materials.
- Jenny Watson, Deputy Chair of the UK's Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), says that sexual harassment is no laughing matter for hundreds of thousands of British workers who experience it.
- Secretary of State for Defence John Reid
has signed an agreement with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to address sexual harassment in Britain's Armed Forces.
Gender and the law
Generally, legislation to promote gender equality is complex and varied, with a wide divergence in different countries. In the UK, the principal legislation is found in the Equal Pay Act of 1970, providing for equal pay for comparable work; and the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, which makes discrimination against women or men (including discrimination on the grounds of marital status) illegal in the working situation.
in the UK
The is the expert body in Great Britain on equality
between women and men.
Old boys' networks are a principal factor in preserving male privileges at work. These networks are informal and frequently invisible. They date from school and university and are reinforced by semi-social activities such as playing golf. Men devote far more time than women to such activities and are more likely than women to get jobs through personal contacts. Many of these jobs are unadvertised.