Discrimination based on gender

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DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER – a phenomenon mainly affecting women in the public administration under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed in the USA, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex or origin. There are two theories about disc. of women in employment. The first is the theory of differential treatment – it refers to employment rules and decisions that directly discriminate one group of workers against the other due to race, sex, religion or origin. To prove a case of disc., a woman must prove that she was qualified for the position or that she was prepared to do the job in a way that eliminated the possibility of dismissal based on inadequate preparation for work. The second one – is the theory of differential influence: the claimant must prove that neutral demands and policies towards employees disproportionately affect women and that these requirements or policies are not linked to job preparation. As Marie-France Hirigoyen states, Scandinavian countries and Germany show real concern for equal opportunities for both sexes, in Latin countries there is an atmosphere of male chauvinism. In Italy, Spain and Latin America, there is a belief that women’s professional activity causes male unemployment. It is generally believed that men are more objective and independent, women are shown as overly submissive and emotional, and thus men’s qualities are preferred in managerial positions. Despite the increase in professional activity of women, in the majority of cases high positions are occupied mainly by men. Although women in democracies are proportionally more represented in public administration than in the economy as a whole, as a rule proportionally more women are employed in civil service requiring a relatively lower skill level. The consequence of this segregation on the labour market can be observed in the gender pay gap – on average in the EU 17.4% to women’s disadvantage (2010). The phenomenon of discrimination against women is described in literature by the following terms: “glass ceiling” (a barrier hindering women from reaching high positions in public administration, business or politics), “leaky pipeline” (a small number of women in higher positions and promotion levels caused by the fact that women’s talents “leak out” as they go through successive levels of their career, so the higher in the hierarchy, the less women), “sticky floor” (consists in assigning women to a certain group of less prestigious and less paid professions), “queen of bees syndrome” (a phenomenon in which women holding top positions do not support other women). In the case of men, the phenomenon of discrimination is described by the term “glass cellar” – an American sociologist Warren Farrell, the author of the book The Myth of Male Power (1993), was the first one to use the term. It means that the employee has no chance not only for promotion, but also for improving his situation, because the work he does is so low-paid and of such low social prestige that it closes his chance of climbing higher up the social ladder – e.g., these are dangerous, low-paid jobs, not very popular and lowest-ranked occupations (garbage workers, sewage treatment plant workers, exterminators, truck drivers). Employees are blocked from access to paternity leave, punished for taking days off due to child’s illness and released from work for the desire to stay with the child during the first months after birth [ J. Itrich-Drabarek ].

Literature: K.T. Barlett, Gender and law: theory, doctrine and commentary, New York 1998 ■ R.J. Edelmann, Konflikty w pracy [Conflict at work], Gdańsk 2002. ■ M.F.Hirygoyen, Molestowanie moralne [Moral harassment], Poznań 2002.

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