Gender discrimination, sometimes called sex or gender bias, can be defined as an unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender. Even though gender discrimination in the workplace statistics show that bias may come in various shapes and forms, it’s women who are being discriminated against most of the time.
The examples of discrimination may vary from offensive jokes to sexual harassment. Such treatment is not only frowned upon, representing the violation of fundamental civil rights, but it’s also illegal. Still, it’s widespread and may even result in severe consequences and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and even attempted suicide.
Top Sexism in the Workplace Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- 42% of women have faced gender discrimination at work.
- 25% of women (compared to only 5% of men) have been paid less for the same job.
- 16% of women have received insults at work, compared to 5% of men.
- 23% of women have been treated as incompetent, as opposed to 6% of men.
- 15% of women have had less support from senior managers or leaders compared to 7% of men.
- 10% of women haven’t been taken into account for significant tasks as opposed to 5% of men.
- 7% of women have been denied a promotion, compared to 5% of men.
- 7% of women with the same qualifications as men have been turned down for a job.
Gender Inequality in the Workplace Statistics You Didn’t Know
1. Less than 5% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies are females.
Women account for 47% of the entire US labor force. Still, the number is far too small regarding female CEOs at S&P 500 companies. Moreover, it has been declining. Three years ago, female CEOs presided over 6.4% of these corporations. Now, that figure has dropped to 4.8%.
The reason for such a drop lies in the fact that over one-third of female CEOs quit their jobs. Some of them are well-known pros like Denise Morrison (Campbell Soup Company), Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard), Irene Rosenfeld (Mondelez), and Sheri McCoy (Avon).
2. Women make up less than 25% of Congress.
Gender discrimination facts are unavoidable, even when it comes to state leadership. There have been only 102 females in the House of Representatives since January 2019, not taking into account four territorial delegates. This further implies that female politicians from 46 states out of 50 comprise only 23.4% of the entire Congress.
These figures are undoubtedly encouraging compared to past years. Female candidates achieved colossal success during midterm elections in 2018. Yet, the overall number of American women in politics is significantly lower than in other countries.
3. 42% of women have faced gender discrimination at work.
(Pew Research Center)
Nearly four out of ten American women admitted they had experienced discrimination at work due to their gender, according to the sexism in the workplace statistics. The most frequent discrimination that women reported included a range of incidents, from being paid less than male colleagues for the same job to being disregarded by managers for some important tasks.
Besides, 7% of working women reported that their managers refused to promote them, compared to 5% of men who encountered the same problems with their promotion. As for gender bias in hiring statistics, 7% of women versus 4% of men didn’t get a job they applied for, even though they were equally qualified for the position.
4. 15% of female employees haven’t received enough support from their supervisors.
(Pew Research Center)
Manager’s support is more important than people may think. Unfortunately, not all employees get it. As you may guess, it’s women who are constantly denied support when they need it most.
As sexism statistics show, working women don’t have enough support from their managers or senior leaders. More precisely, 15% of women reported receiving less support versus 7% of men who had such an experience. Also, one out of ten women stated that managers counted them out for some essential tasks, as opposed to 5% of men.
5. Women earn around 20% less than men.
As the US Department of Labor reveals, female workers with full-time employment made 79% as much as their male peers in 2014. The remaining 21% shouldn’t be neglected.
Regardless of their occupation, women tend to earn less than men, according to gender inequality in the workplace statistics. This gap has been narrowing ever since the ‘70s when many women graduated from universities and started to work. However, a rate of change is still moving slowly and indicates that US female employees won’t reach equal pay as their male counterparts up until 2059.
The previous progress mainly started to decline in 2001, only to halt over time. Should it fail to increase and keep the momentum, women won’t attain equal pay before 2119.
6. 25% of women have made 25% less than men for the same job.
(Pew Research Center)
Possibly the biggest gender gap can be seen in remunerations. As reported by employment discrimination statistics, one out of four female employees (25%) admitted making less money than male employees for doing the same job. For the sake of comparison, only 5% of men said they made less than their female colleagues. Even though the pay gap between men and women has narrowed since women became eligible to work, it still exists in spite of all the efforts and progress feminists have made.
Distressing Sexism in the Workplace Statistics
7. Women are 42% more likely to face sexism at work.
(Pew Research Center)
Statistics show that working women are nearly twice as likely to experience one out of eight particular forms of gender discrimination at work. Conversely, only 22% of men reported facing gender discrimination.
8. 23% of women are more likely to be considered incompetent due to their gender.
(Pew Research Center)
Female workers are nearly four times as likely as their male colleagues to report having been regarded as incompetent because of their gender. According to gender discrimination in the workplace statistics, 23% of working women admitted they had received unfair treatment compared to 6% of men.
Similarly, 16% of working women revealed they repeatedly received minor insults in the workplace due to their gender. Those insults could be implicit, in the form of inadequate jokes or explicit comments directed at one’s gender, physical appearance, or sexual orientation. In contrast, only 5% of men encountered such unpleasantries.
9. 20% of LGBTQ community members frequently face severe discrimination and hostility at work.
As for LGBT discrimination in the workplace statistics, one-fifth of the LGBTQ Americans have encountered discrimination against their gender identity or sexual orientation when applying for a job. Needless to say, non-white LGBTQ community members are 32% more prone to discrimination versus 12% of white LGBTQ Americans. Furthermore, 22% of LGBTQ people haven’t received equal pay or promotion at the same rate as their straight counterparts.
10. 53% of LGBTQ people heard offensive jokes at work in 2018.
Offensive jokes based on an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation are viewed as harassment. In 2018, over half of LGBTQ employees were victims of inappropriate jokes at work. Likewise, 37% of bisexual and 41% of transgender people heard or were subject to such jokes, according to transgender discrimination in the workplace statistics.
Shocking Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Stats and Facts
11. At least 25% of women have been subject to sexual harassment.
Sadly, discrimination isn’t limited only to unequal pay, lack of support, or offensive jokes in the workplace. It often goes even further, making women victims of something they have a hard time recovering from. Namely, one-fourth of females have encountered sexual harassment at work. According to research that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission carried out, that figure goes up to 85% in some instances, as indicated by sexual harassment in the workplace statistics.
However, not all industries are equally stricken. Recent studies have shown that as much as 58% of female surgeons have experienced sexual harassment. Similarly, 64% of females in law firms have been subject to this type of workplace discrimination.
12. 75% of female harassment victims experience retaliation after reporting sexual harassment.
Since women fear retaliation in the form of dismissal from the job, it’s no wonder victims of sexual harassment in the workplace hesitate to report it.
Workplace harassment statistics disclosed that even 75% of workers who reported any mistreatment in the workplace encountered some sort of retaliation. Similarly, a number of other studies indicate that numerous organizations fail to react to sexual harassment. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 9% of women feel isolated at work.
13. Women are 22% more likely to experience sexual harassment than men.
(Pew Research Center)
According to sexual harassment in the workplace statistics and a month-long study, which included 4,914 adults, both men (35%) and women (36%) reported sexual harassment as a workplace problem. However, female employees are about three times as likely to experience it (22% of females as opposed to 7% of males).
Racial Discrimination in the Workplace Is Still Present
14. Discrimination against African-American workers accounts for nearly 26% of discrimination claims.
As far as racial discrimination in the workplace statistics goes, African-American women are particularly vulnerable to both race and gender discrimination referred to as double discrimination. Afro-American women have been participating in the labor market for quite a while. Yet, they still occupy underestimated positions and receive minimum wage. Also, they don’t have benefits or bonuses like sick or maternity leave and flexible working hours.
15. 60% of US-based Muslims have experienced religious discrimination.
(Roger Law Firm)
Working people in the US don’t favor Muslim colleagues, as religious discrimination in the workplace statistics show. More than two-thirds of Muslim employees reported experiencing discrimination on account of faith in the workplace. Even though Muslims seem to be the main target, all religious groups other than Christian may become subject to religious discrimination.
16. Women of color make up nearly 50% of the minimum wage labor force.
African-American women comprise 17.6% of the minimum wage workforce. They are primarily involved in food service, housekeeping, retail, and other professions that don’t require any academic skills or professional training. Likewise, Hispanic females account for 22.8% while Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women make up 6.7% of the minimum wage workforce.
17. Women of color account for only 9.8% of managers.
Racial discrimination in the workplace statistics show that non-white females frequently experience massive labor force gaps involving compensation and leadership positions.
In the S&P 500 companies, women of color comprise only 9.8% of first-level and middle-level managers and directors, 5% of senior-level managers and executives, and only 3.8% of board members.
African-American women with full-time employment make only 61 cents for each dollar white men earn. Latin American women make 53 cents while Asian females earn 85 cents for each dollar white men make.
Top Causes of Gender Inequality in the Workplace — Stats and Facts
18. Workers across the US filed over one million employment discrimination complaints with local partner agencies between 2010 and 2017.
Out of more than one million complaints, almost 930,000 had been closed by January 2018. In 82% of cases, workers failed to get any form of relief. The typical outcome for over 60% of closed cases was “no cause” determination.
Despite the severe consequences it may have, discrimination at work is still taken lightly. The effects of gender inequality in the workplace may be detrimental to the victim. It may lead to conflicts with colleagues or superiors and low productivity and morale. What’s more, it can even end in some legal issues.
The more adverse effects may include deterioration of a victim’s overall health. Namely, bad treatment and discrimination may lead to depression, anxiety disorders, and even attempted suicide.
19. 25% of women 15–24 don’t finish elementary school.
(Human Rights Careers)
On a global scale, women don’t have equal schooling opportunities as men. One-fourth of young women don’t have a chance to complete elementary school, comprising 58% of people who haven’t received primary education. Two-thirds of the total number of illiterate people across the globe are women. Gender discrimination facts confirm that the education gap between young men and women will heavily impact their future.
20. Over one billion women don’t have protection against violence.
(Human Rights Careers)
Domestic sexual and economic abuse has a considerable impact on women’s ability to prosper. Unfortunately, over one billion women don’t have any legal protection from these forms of violence. Some countries even fail to protect women against harassment at work, school, home, or in public.
21. Only 24.3% of women sit in national parliaments.
(Human Rights Careers)
It’s more than evident that women lack adequate political representation. Namely, female politicians fill just 24.3% of seats in parliaments worldwide according to gender discrimination statistics. Similarly, a year ago, only 11 women were Head of State. Although significant progress has been made over the years, women still don’t have adequate representation in parliaments.
The female presence in politics and governments is essential as women raise questions of parental leave and childcare, gender equality legislation, pension, and gender-based violence that politicians tend to neglect.
22. 38% of women don’t have bodily autonomy.
(Human Rights Careers)
As WHO reveals, more than 200 million sexually active women don’t use contraception for several reasons. Unfortunately, not all women around the world have the right to decide when they will give birth. On a global scale, 40% of pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned. Although 50% end in abortion, even 38% of them result in giving birth.
Everyday Examples of Sexism in the Workplace
23. Managers are twice as likely to hire a man.
It’s no secret that the majority of hiring managers are twice as likely to employ a male over a female worker. Some would argue that they intentionally reject women despite their qualifications and expertise, giving a chance to men who are less qualified and experienced than female candidates.
Sadly, job interviews are not the only examples of gender discrimination in the workplace. Gender discrimination is present in almost every segment of the business world. Rejections at job interviews are just a start. Other instances include lower payment, lack of support, and exclusion from important tasks. Without a doubt, the worst possible example is sexual harassment in the workplace that has the most detrimental effects on a victim.
24. 51% of HR managers tend to be unintentionally gender-biased.
Oddly enough, statistics on discrimination in the workplace reveal that hiring managers subconsciously let gender-bias influence their selection of candidates. Namely, over half of them have chosen an underperforming candidate just because of their gender. But when the entire hiring team assessed the candidate, gender didn’t impact their decisions. They chose the most qualified candidate for that particular job position.
25. 60% of managers aren’t comfortable with mentoring female co-workers.
Gender discrimination in the workplace statistics is rather harsh. Nearly two-thirds of male managers or supervisors find it uncomfortable to mentor, socialize, or work one-on-one with their female colleagues. This might hurt women’s careers as the lack of mentorship might hinder their advancement. Similarly, 36% of male employees deem it would be wrong if they went on business trips, had dinners, or worked one-on-one with women.
26. Only 10% of female workers have a mentor.
As much as 67% of women regard mentorship as a crucial factor for their career advancement, according to discrimination in the workplace statistics. Sadly, only a small number actually manages to get a mentor, although mentorship programs help companies increase retention rates for women by 15–38%. Despite the significance of mentorship, female workers hardly obtain it. One of the reasons might be that male superiors or managers aren’t comfortable with mentoring their female colleagues.
27. Just 54% of females consider mentorship.
According to workplace discrimination statistics, not many women succeed in becoming mentors. The main factor that dissuades women from mentoring is the time commitment. That’s the main reason why three out of four working women refuse to mentor a junior colleague.
Another typical reason is self-confidence. Namely, many female employees doubt they have enough knowledge and expertise to be mentors. On the other hand, even 71% of them confirmed they would accept to be mentors if they were asked.
28. The gender pay gap around the world ranges from 3% to 51%.
(International Labor Organization)
The history of gender inequality in the workplace reveals astonishing figures. The average gender pay gap at a global level amounts to 17%, while the two extremes range from 3% to 51% globally.
When it comes to the US, pay equality has improved since 1979. At the time, female workers made 62% as much as male workers. In 2010, women made 81% as much as men. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, female presence in the US workforce dropped, only to reach 60% at the beginning of the new millennium. Unfortunately, this number dropped again to 46.7% and has hardly risen so far.
Shocking statistics about women discrimination in the workplace show that even in the 21st century, women are victims of various forms of discrimination and harassment. Even though it’s unlawful, gender discrimination continues to be one of the main issues in the workplace.
For some unknown reason, people tend to ignore gender discrimination and its consequences. Discrimination in the workplace can result in anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. What’s more, it can even make a victim attempt suicide.
Some of the most extreme gender discrimination examples include job interview questions and choice of candidates, the notorious gender pay gap, gender-based insults at work, the lack of support from seniors and supervisors, exclusion from significant tasks, promotion rejection, and sexual harassment. Addressing such issues in the workplace must be every company’s priority to ensure a healthy workplace environment. In such a workplace environment, employees feel safe and are more productive.
What is gender discrimination in the workplace?
Gender discrimination at work comes in various shapes and forms. Basically, it means treating an applicant or an employee differently and less favorably solely because of their gender. Some instances may include offensive jokes and insults, exclusion from projects or essential tasks, not getting a promotion or raise, not receiving mentorship, and unequal pay. The most severe form of gender discrimination is sexual harassment.
How do you deal with discrimination at work?
Firstly, you have to keep in mind that discrimination is considered illegal only if it impacts your employment terms and conditions. Some of the steps to deal with it include letting your employer or manager know that you feel discriminated against or harassed. Next, let them know you don’t take the matters lightly. In case you don’t get any response from the manager and the harassment continues, consider contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is a federal agency responsible for monitoring complaints against discrimination and harassment.
What federal laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace?
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), protecting men and women from gender-based pay discrimination
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protecting individuals who are 40 or older
- Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), banning employment discrimination against skilled individuals with impairment both in the private sector and in state governments
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibiting discrimination against skilled individuals with impairments working in the federal government
- Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), prohibiting employment discrimination based on genetic information
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991, providing, among other things, financial compensation for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.
What are the three most important laws that regulate discrimination in employment?
Out of seven acts listed above, the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act may be considered the most important when it comes to protection against workplace bias. The Civil Rights Act forbids any kind of discrimination, while the Equal Pay Act offers protection to both men and women in cases of workplace discrimination. Likewise, the Age Discrimination in the Employment Act safeguards employees who are over 40 years of age.
What are the examples of discrimination in the workplace?
According to gender discrimination stats and facts, workplace bias is far more widespread than what people think. Some of the most frequent examples include rejection at the job interview, unequal pay, exclusion or isolation in the workplace, and failing to give accurate information. Other instances involve a denial of promotion and training opportunities. Leaders tend to give difficult or impossible assignments, knowing that employees won’t manage to complete them or exclude workers from important projects. The most severe instances are all forms of sexual harassment, ranging from offensive jokes to assaults.
How do you prove discrimination in the workplace?
To give evidence that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you’ll need to collect the documents listed below:
- Your employment record or personnel file
- Your employee handbook that employers give to their workers
- Your diary or log — it’s essential to keep a diary or a journal in which you’ll write all instances of discrimination
- Your salary history
- Physical proof of harassment or discrimination that you obtained from your GP
As gender discrimination in the workplace statistics show, there is an array of gender bias instances ranging from jokes and sexual slurs to sexual harassment and termination of employment. Employees should know their rights and act accordingly to protect themselves from harassment of any kind.