Study looks at workplace gender discrimination

Female employees in Tennessee and around the country may be more likely than their male counterparts to experience gender discrimination in the workplace according to a study by the Pew Research Center. The study found that 42 percent of women reported gender discrimination at work compared to 22 percent of men.

The most commonly given example of gender discrimination was being paid less for the same job, reported by one-quarter of women. Only 5 percent of men reported the same experience. Nearly as high a percentage of women said they had been treated as though they were not competent. Gender discrimination can sometimes be subtle as demonstrated by the fact that 16 percent said there had been "small slights" in the workplace that happened over and over.

The study also asked about sexual harassment in the workplace. Roughly the same percentage of men and women said it was a problem, approximately one-third, but only 7 percent of men had experienced it compared to 22 percent of women.

Breaking down responses by demographics, the study found that women with higher levels of education were also more likely to experience gender discrimination. Hispanic and white women reported lower levels of gender discrimination at work than black women. Only around one-third of Republican or Republican-leaning women said they had faced gender discrimination on the job compared to nearly half of Democrat or Democrat-leaning women.

While many companies may have policies against gender discrimination and other types of workplace discrimination, they do not always deal with reports from employees effectively. A company may not have effective processes in place to investigate or protect employees who report harassment, or they may protect employees who are considered senior or valuable against these reports. Therefore, people dealing with discrimination at work might want to talk to an attorney about their rights before discussing the situation with their employers.

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