Even in 2022, sexism in the workplace still exists, and it is primarily directed toward women.
Women face discrimination and inequality in the workplace at many levels, including pay, promotions, and job responsibilities. This article explores some ways to respond if you suspect a situation or process at work has sexist elements.
- Speak up. If you see something wrong, say something. Don’t allow yourself to remain silent if you feel a situation is unfair or discriminatory. You might not be able to stop the problem right away, but at least you’ll be doing your part to prevent future discrimination.In some cases, a sexist comment or process is made on accident out of ignorance and can be easily corrected once attention is brought to the issue. In other cases, the sexist practice or language is deliberate and may require escalating the issue to management or to HR.
- Document everything. It’s important to document everything that happens in the workplace that feels unfair or discriminatory. This includes any sexist behavior you witness or hear about. Keep a journal or take notes during meetings so you can refer back to them later. Also, keep track of who said what and when. That way, it is not a matter of “he said, she said” but actual objective observations of the issue.
- Contact HR or the legal department. If you feel uncomfortable reporting an incident of sexism, talk with your supervisor or human resource representative first. They will help you determine whether there is anything you need to report. You should also contact your legal counsel if you think you might be facing discrimination.
- Know your own boundaries. If you find yourself in a situation that feels feels discriminatory or sexist, and the situation does not resolve itself even after you address it or speak to management or HR about the issue, you should determine what personal boundaries you need to set. This could range from removing yourself from a certain project to leaving the position entirely. There is no right answer to whether you need to establish boundaries, but if you regularly feel uncomfortable or discriminated against, then it may fall on your shoulders to take action.