Gender bias isn’t an uncommon issue at places of work even in today’s time. Are you or one of those who are being subject to gender discrimination at the workplace?
Here’s how to retort for best results!
ASK FOR AN EXPLANATION
Avoid losing your temper right away and try to point the mistake out to the person who makes it in threatening your sameness as a female or a third gender amongst males.
When somebody makes a joke at our expense or at the expense of our gender, what do we usually do? We generally either stay shut or fire up expressing anger and disappointment. Instead let us give the person a benefit of doubt first. You might ask them to repeat what they said pretending not to have heard the joke or ask them to justify their statement and in the procedure while emphasising on the words they once spoke, in order to sound louder and clearer they might stand guilty to their conscience and realise their fault. They might end up apologising and reiterating the fact that it was just a joke and that is when you should correct them, explaining how much it hurts the concerned person’s sentiments because it is an unjust thing to say or feel.
BRING IT UP PRIVATELY
Just as mentioned in the previous point, do not attack the victimiser or else they are likely to become defensive and it shall lead to no solution whatsoever in your favour. Handle the matter very patiently.
In case they don’t realise their bout at offending you then you must confront them but in private. Let them know what you thought was inappropriate about a certain something they said or a certain mentality they expressed with regards to a specific gender.
Say for instance, a male colleague of yours is known to be very good at wooing women in your workplace and as a consequence is able to get a lot of his files passed smoothly. However when a female colleague of yours comes to be known as having similar characteristics and to be applying her tricks to her benefit, she gets fingers to be pointed at her claiming the inappropriateness in her manners – it is then that you might want to point out the unequal judgements made by certain people with respect to the separate genders.
KEEP PROOF OF ALL COMMUNICATION
Be it a personal chat or a formal chat; do not delete the conversations you have with your employee, or your colleagues at the workplace. Make sure they aren’t able to get away with anything that offends you either on a personal or on a professional level.
Consider your sentiments and make your feelings known to the authorities concerned. Always keep proof of any and every kind of exchange you have with your colleagues so that they aren’t able to deny your truth with false facts.
TELL UPPER MANAGEMENT
Once you realise that a face to face or private confrontation isn’t bringing about any changes in the person concerned with regards to their unjust judgements, public name-calling or any other kind of offensive behaviour, for that matter, take it up to the head.
Choose not to gossip about it or share your issues with your fellow colleagues as it might lead you into trouble because many people might be jealous of you or your position in the work front and may end up backbiting, using your weakness and confessions against you. It is hence better to directly reach the upper management and wait for them to take suitable measures in your stride.
TALK TO SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF WORK
While it isn’t a very good idea to divulge personal issues related to the work environment to your office personnel, it is rather a good idea to vent to somebody outside of your workplace. You could vent to whoever you trust and can count on for a good bit of advice. It could be your mother, your friend or a relative slightly older to you by age and better experienced who may have faced similar issues at work, and are likely to be able to help you with as to how you should go about with your problem/s related to gender bias at the workplace.
DETERMINE YOUR OWN FEELINGS
It is a different thing to have an ill temper in general and to feel offended at genuine reasons that call for distasteful responses. You need to be able to figure out whether what you hear or see is something that is bad enough to require correction or mutiny.
Don’t let people, see you as somebody who finds any and every thing offensive once in a while because of the kind of temperament you have. Make sure that when you become defensive you back your retort with appropriate reason that you are absolutely convinced about even as you ponder upon it when in the perfect calm of mind. Anything that makes you uncomfortable and hinders your progress at work or causes you emotional stress, all of which you know you cannot normally counter and demands exclusive attention should be considered and taken up to the authorities without fail.
PROPOSE A GENDER EQUALITY TRAINING OR WORKSHOP
When you find that colleagues in your office often pass subtle yet significant gender based comments now and then, even when they are not really hurting somebody specifically, what you can do is initiate or talk to the senior authorities about initiating a gender equality workshop, to which you can call forth renowned speakers and also invite your fellow colleagues to share their views about gender bias.
This can be really helpful in making people see where they go wrong and as to how their seemingly silly comments or let’s say even the seriously thought out comments can deeply impact other people in a very negative manner. A workshop or two should help evade not only silly jokes at the expense of gender but also severe issues arising from gender based inequality.
LOOK OUT FOR UNEXPECTED GENDER BIASES
More often than not, similar genders are more responsible for subjecting their clan to inequality. Never either equate yourself to a fellow similar gender or for that matter distinguish your abilities from a fellow opposite gender with respect to not only the sort of work you can do but also in the kind of manner you ought to pose.
Not all women are dainty and not all men are strong and overpowering. It is hence important to define individuals – their professional and even personal capacities not on the basis of their gender but on the basis of specific characteristics they possess.
PROVIDE A SOLUTION
Stand up against gender bias and come up with ways to counter it, which you can then introduce to the people around you. If it is women who more often answer calls or take down notes in your office, then try asking the management to rotate duties so that the man gets a chance at taking down notes and answering calls, while the woman can engage in other things.
DON’T BE AN ONLOOKER
If you see someone being subject to gender bias, do not walk past them or ignore the matter thinking that it doesn’t concern you so you might as well not intrude into other people’s business and call for your own trouble. What you must realise is that if something wrong happens to somebody today, something similar might happen to you tomorrow and unless you raise your voice on behalf of others, when it is you who becomes subject to similar treatment desperately yearning for justice, you won’t have others supporting you as wholeheartedly as you’d expect.
Another thing is that it is always easier to raise your voice in somebody else’s favour rather than for yourself, even while you’re trying to portray a common issue.
Hope this helps. Bests!