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Since the dawn of civilization, women have done jobs as the latter in patriarchal societies.

Cooking for the family, maintaining clean a household, tending to children, and being completely

subservient to their husbands is all women have been thought capable of, while men were

thought responsible of directing political, economic, and cultural life. As time went on, the status

of women deteriorated even more. Patriarchal societies basically treated women as slaves,

despite the suffragist movements created to give women more freedom. In modern times, women

are still extremely limited in what they can do without an issue and whats frowned upon,

especially in the workforce. In STEM fields, there is often a barrier between men and women

that affects everything from how women are paid compared to men to how they are treated by

their male counterparts. The reoccurring gender biases in STEM fields have disastrous results on


Being a woman in America means you are subject to unfair biases based on gender.

Studies show that gender bias plays a huge role in how much women receive for working

identical jobs as men. Although these gender stigmas have been in existence for several

centuries, circumstances occurred that changed the role of women, especially in the United

States. During World War II, women were required to support their homes and families in

different ways than just cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Since a majority of the

women in the United States had husbands that were drafted in the war, they had to take over the

responsibilities that men were once solely responsible for. Women were employed in factories,

lumber mills, construction sites, and pilots. Rosie the Riveter, a star of a government campaign

aimed at recruiting female workers for the munitions industry, became perhaps the most iconic

image of working women during the war (History). Rosie served as an influential figure for more
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than 6 million women in the workforce. She also represented the millions of women in America

that stepped up and took responsibility without hesitation to do jobs that had previously only

been done by men.

An interview with Mary Graham revealed that women lack representation in management

positions in the fields they seek jobs in, which negatively affects the chances of women obtaining

these careers, as well as the overall performance of the company. However, this issue cannot be

resolved easily because women are given an extremely hard time when they try to enter men-

driven fields. Abendroths theories of gendered power relations assert that, those in powerful

positions tend to promote their personal and group agenda (Abendroth). Therefore, if several

board members belonging to a specific company are of the elite 10%, they will project their

views onto the rest of the company, which will ultimately result in a workspace that lacks

diversity; composed of white males belonging to a certain age group. Minorities belonging to the

company will be forced to prove their worth by performing ten times as well as everyone else.

Thus, for a woman to enter a top-tier position, she must perform twice as well as her male

counterparts with the same position (Abendroth).

It has been a common stigma that women should be teachers, and women were accepted

in classrooms. To have leadership positions within schools, however, was both uncommon and

unheard of. However, women now earn 57% of bachelors degrees and 59% of masters degrees

in the United States, and with their degrees, women are more likely to apply and get accepted to

leadership roles. In a survey of earned doctorates in the United States, Sommers attests that,

2006 was the fifth year in a row in which the majority of research Ph.D.s awarded to United

States citizens went to women. Women earn more Ph.D.s than men in the humanities, social
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sciences, education, and life sciences" (Sommers). With their degrees, women now serve as

presidents of Harvard, MIT, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and other

universities leading in research. Elsewhere, however, the figures for women with leadership roles

are much different. Women comprise just 19% of tenure-track professors in math, 11% in

physics, 10% in computers science, and 10% in electrical engineering. These figures correspond

with what Furchgott-Roth considers a myth. There is a belief that women get less pay for equal

work, however, the spurious assertion that women are paid 77 cents for a mans wage dollar

comes from comparing the earnings of all full-time men with those of all full-time women

(Furchgott-Roth). The Furchgott-Roth also argues that women, for their own reasons, enter so-

called helping professions, such as nursing, teaching, elderly care, nutrition, and social work.

These occupations pay less than more dangerous and physically demanding lines of work that

attract more men; such as engineering, mining, construction, and operating machinery.

According to Dr. Isis H, Settles, an associate professor in the psychology

department at Michigan State University, Numerical underrepresentation and negative

stereotypes contribute to negative environments for women in STEM. Negative gender-based

experiences, such as sexual harassment, are more likely to occur in male-dominated settings like

the sciences (e.g., Antecol & Cobb-Clark, 2001; Willness, Steel, & Lee, 2007) and men are far

more likely to direct sex-based mistreatment toward women in male-dominated careers (e.g.,

science) as a means of penalizing them for violating gender-role norms and stereotypes (Dovidio,

Major, & Crocker, 2000). Further, Kanters (1977) classic theory of proportional representation

suggests that women who are a numerical minority in an organizational settings (tokens) will

experience additional stressors. Specifically, women may experience greater performance

pressure because they are highly visible as tokens and are expected to represent women as a
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group. Women may also experience social isolation because they are seen as outsiders by men in

the organization. Finally, perceptions of individual women are filtered through stereotypes about

their gender. For example, compared to men, women are stereotyped as less intelligent and less

competent in mathematics and science (Lane, Goh, & Driver-Linn, 2012; Shih, Pittinsky, &

Ambady, 1999). Moreover, the cultural stereotype of the scientist as objective, rational, and

single-minded is consistent with prescribed norms for men, but counter to stereotypes and

prescribed norms for women (Barbercheck, 2001; Diekman & Steinberg, 2013; Fiske, Cuddy,

Glick & Xu, 2002). Together, these factors contribute to a chilly climate for women in STEM,

with multiple challenges that contribute to their low numbers at every level (Settles).

Settles examined the structural barriers, as well as the negative

interpersonal experiences faced by women in STEM by comparing female and male STEM and

non-STEM faculty members at a United States accredited university. Compared to female faculty

members in social science (non-STEM), female faculty members in the natural sciences (STEM)

reported more perceived gender discrimination related to hiring, promotion, salary, space,

equipment, access to administrative staff, and graduate student or resident/fellow assignments, as

well as more sexual harassment. Among faculty in STEM, women also reported more gender

discrimination than men; in fact, 96 percent of men reported experiencing no gender

discrimination compared to 59 percent of women (Settles, Cortina, Buchanan, & Miner, 2013).

Further, female STEM faculty members, compared to their male counterparts in STEM, reported

more gender derogation negative, insensitive or disparaging comments made about ones own

gender, and viewed their workplace as more tolerant of sexism (Settles et al., 2013). These

findings support the notion that such behaviors are a way to penalize women for working in
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male-dominated fields, and to communicate that they are not welcome in such environments


Gender biases and prejudices against women are also common in college settings. The

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 supposedly protects people from discrimination

based on sex in education programs or activities that receive financial aid from the Federal

government. Title IX directly states that, No person in the United States shall, on the basis of

sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to

discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance

(U.S. Department of Education). The scope of Title IX applies to institutions that receive Federal

financial assistance from ED, including state and local education agencies. Title IX was designed

to assist with the closing of the gender wage gap. However, despite how effective Title IX has

been in promoting equality for women in the workforce, the bill has also caused several issues

for women trying to battle gender bias in the workplace, as well as in school settings. Over the

years, professionals have interpreted Title IX to mean that women are entitled to statistical

proportionality, meaning if a college has a student body consistent of 60% females, then 60% of

the athletes on that college campus should also be female even if far fewer women than men

are interested in playing sports at that college. However, there is no question that Title IX

ultimately led to mens participation in college sports being calibrated to the level of womens

interest. This calibration could potentially devastate academic science by veering women away

from participating in college sports based on unfair stigmas and prejudice.

From the unintentional biases stemmed in people whose beliefs in patriarchal blossomed

new terms to describe the prejudices faced by women. Unintentional racism, the unrealized
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racism or prejudice against a person or group of persons based off race, color, gender, or sexual

orientation, is not always determined by whether or not an individual possesses prejudiced

beliefs or attitudes, and can take various forms, the most obvious being the dominant norms and

standards conveyed by men in society. Many people believe these norms and standards are

morally correct and culturally justified, thus, they do not understand these stigmas and standards

oppress and dehumanize others, specifically women. Thus, being oppressed can potentially lead

to serious health issues, as stated by Carolyn Shimmin of the Canadian Womens Health

Network. Although stigma is a familiar concept in the field of mental health, it is still rather

complex and is often over-simplified. The term is used as a catch-all for an array of negative

beliefs, attitudes and actions related to mental health. What is often left out of the discussion is

that stigma exists within a social power structure that facilitates it. As Bruce Link and Jo Phelan

write in Conceptualizing Stigma, stigmatization is contingent on access to social, economic, and

political power that allowsthe full execution of disapproval, rejection, exclusion, and

discrimination. Researchers have found that, in addition to labelling and stereotyping, active

discrimination and the misuse of power are the most damaging aspects of stigma. The key to an

effective strategy against stigma must be an evidence-based understanding of its complexity,

including recognition that women and men experience and apply stigma differently. A campaign

or any anti-stigma programming that does not take gender into account risks failure, and may

waste the often considerable resources invested. To date, the MHCC national anti-stigma

campaign contains no sex- and gender-based analysis (Shimmin).

In her work, Shimmin also discusses the differences in assigning responsibility to

male and female employees, and how this responsibility is also linked to the nature of stigma

attached to pregnant womens behaviors. Shimmin asserts that, Though there has been some
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shift in Canadian public policy to embrace harm reduction approaches to substance use and

addictions, the unique needs of pregnant women and mothers with addictions are frequently

neglected. Similarly, public attitudes and child welfare policies may negatively affect women

with mental illness who are pregnant or mothering (portraying these women as unstable mothers

whose children should be taken away). These conditions may determine whether or not a woman

will report substance use patterns or mental health issues during pregnancy and while mothering.

This sort of stigma is directly associated with gender roles. Researchers have argued that the

stigma for women who use any licit or illicit drugs is more severe than for men because of

womens place in society, as those who bear and rear children and who are seen to uphold the

moral and spiritual values of society. There is also the negative stereotype that women users are

sexually promiscuous because of their drug or alcohol use. This association is not seen in men.

The World Health Organization has found that men are far more likely than women to disclose

problems with alcohol use to their health care provider. To communicate effectively to and about

women who experience substance use problems or mental illness, it is necessary to understand

and reflect the social context in which such experiences emerge. It is also important to

understand that stigma experienced by those living with addictions varies by gender and

therefore, requires different approaches and treatment options (Shimmin).

A group of researchers recently examined the stigma of workplace

flexibility from all angles in a series of studies published on Friday in The Journal of Social

Issues, co-edited by Professor Williams and others. Among other things, the researchers

examined the effect of men taking leave after the birth of a child (they were more likely to be

penalized and less likely to get promoted or receive raises), as well as the reasons some

professional women decide to leave work after having children (working reduced hours resulted
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in less meaningful work assignments). They also looked at how the perception of women using

flexible arrangements differs across class lines: affluent women often receive the message that

they should stay at home, while poor women are more likely to hear that they shouldnt have had

children to begin with (Bernard). These studies show that deep-rooted cultural values

intertwining work devotion and gender identity drive the flexibility stigma, said Professor

Williams said (Williams). But it is clear that many American families crave

flexibility, especially as traditional gender roles of mothers and fathers continue to blur. A study

by the Society for Human Resource Management conducted in 2008, the most recent data

available, found that 34 percent of human resources professionals polled indicated an increase in

requests for these arrangements compared to the previous year.

The reasons are fairly obvious, as more Americans chase the elusive work-life balance. Nearly

equal shares of working mothers and fathers report that they feel stressed about juggling work

and family life, a recent Pew Research Center analysis found. But while working fathers placed

more importance on having a high-paying job, the study found working mothers were more

concerned with having a flexible schedule. In fact, its possible that more women would be

working if they had such arrangements available to them, and that they felt comfortable using.

The share of working-age American women in the work force has been on the decline relative to

other developed countries, a phenomenon tied at least in part to those countries rapid expansion

of family-friendly policies, according to a study by Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, both

professors of economics at Cornell, published in February (Bernard).

In 1990, the United States had the sixth-highest share of women in the work force

among 22 developed countries, with 74 percent of women ages 25 to 54 working. But by 2010,
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the share of American women working dropped to 17th place, with slightly more than 75 percent

of women working compared to 80 percent outside the country, the research found. They

estimate that American womens participation would have been 82 percent if they had access to

the other countries policies, which include a right to part-time work. Maybe we have reached a

maximum and we cant go any higher, Professor Blau said, referring to the percentage of

working women. But this suggests we could go higher if we worked on these work-life balance

issues (Blau).

Flexibility does potentially present a double-edged sword, at least as far as womens

advancement goes. Long, paid parental leaves and the availability of part-time positions may

encourage women who would have otherwise been more committed to working to take those

part-time or lower-level jobs, Professor Blau explained. And employers, in turn, may be less

likely to promote or put women in higher positions if they think they are going to take advantage

of flexible arrangements. As it stands now, women in the United States are more likely to work

full time than in other developed countries and they are more likely to be in higher-level

positions (Blau).

In her article about the unspoken stigmas women deal with in the workplace, Bernard

discusses how workers in large corporations are often left to sort out stigma issues on their own:

Both inside many companies and at the national level, workers largely have been left to sort

these issues out on their own. But some places are beginning to take cues from other countries

that have already carried out national policies to protect workers who want more flexible

arrangements. Last month, Vermont passed an equal pay law that, among other things,

provides employees with the right to request flexible working arrangements and protects them

from retaliation for asking. The law requires employers to listen to workers pleas twice a year,
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though they arent obliged to grant any requests. This law is modeled after similar laws in the

U.K. and Australia, said Cary Brown, executive director of the Vermont Commission on

Women, and we believe its the first of its kind in the United States (Bernard).

A sex- and gender-based analysis also helps us understand the high rate of suicide among

men. Growing up, boys encounter what William Pollack termed the Boy Codea set of

expectations about how boys and men should think, feel and act: be tough, dont cry, go it

alone, and dont show any emotion except for anger. These characteristics of traditional

masculinity and the stigma attached to any male who does not abide by these characteristics can

cause men to perceive mental health problems as weaknesses and thus not seek the necessary

help (Shimmin). Consequently, sexist men in the workforce do not always receive the medical

attention they need for their mental and emotional traumas.

According to Janet Currie, a health researcher who has done extensive research on anti-

stigma campaigns, There are four approaches used to combat stigma those living with mental

illness. The first is protest, where mental health consumers watch media, etc., identifying

stigmatizing words, phrases and attitudes and bringing this to the attention of the public. The

second is to organize contact with people living with mental health problems. The third is anti-

stigma campaigns, which receive the most money. The fourth approach is a human rights-based

method that looks at landlords, employers, prisons, etc. and is court-basedoutlawing such

discrimination (Currie). Currie also says that large sums of money are put into anti-stigma

campaigns which, though facilitated by government, are largely funded by pharmaceutical

companies. The underlying message is dont be afraid to report your mental illness. This, in

turn, leads to an increase in labelling which potentially can cause an increase in stigma, as stigma

is contingent on labelling. But, Currie says, the ads do not talk about the punishment that goes
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along with being labelledthat once a diagnosis is put in your medical record it can affect your

health insurance premiums and can be used in court cases, especially separation and custody

cases. Its a hidden discrimination. And diagnosis of anxiety and depression are quite common

with women, she says (Currie).

In Michael Smiths book Stigma, he writes that anti-stigma campaigns tend to use three

different approaches: normalization, media and social attitudes, and rights-based protest. The

MHCC anti-stigma campaign to date resembles the normalization approach, which seems to be

the most frequently used, with examples in England (Beyond Blue), Australia (Changing

Minds) and New Zealand (Like Minds, Like Mine). This approach emphasizes how common

mental health problems are, and asserts that people living with mental illness are just like us,

except that they have a genetic or medical difference. This approach is based on achieving

acceptance rather than equality, and it has been argued that even people who may not be just

like us, who may, for instance, have cognitive impairment as a result of schizophrenia, deserve

to be included like everyone else (Shimmin).

If mental health organizations and anti-stigma campaigns were to look at the experiences

of those living with severe chronic mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, says Currie, that there

would be a call for healthy and safe public housing. Instead, the call is for large sums of money

to be invested in advertisements telling people to be kinder to those living with mental health

problems, but not actually creating social and economic change for those living with the illness.

One significant finding about normalization approaches is that there is a gender difference in the

effectiveness of anti-stigma campaigns. Research has shown that women with family members

or friends with depression had lower stigma scores than women who did not, but this was not

observed in men. In fact, the research shows statistical correlations in men between the belief
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that weakness of character is a causal factor for depression and having family and close friends

with depression. Therefore, personal contact with individuals with depression is shown to have a

positive effect on stigma in women, but to have no effect in men. This is relevant to the MHCCs

anti-stigma campaign, which is repeated and direct peer-based contact with people who have

experienced mental illness in the hopes of reducing negative stereotypes. If, as research suggests,

this approach will only work with women, it provides a clear example of how initiatives to

reduce stigma that ignore gender differences risk failing at least half of this population.

Smith writes that a rights-based approach is based on the idea that those

stigmatized because of mental illness represent a group of people who are wrongfully shamed,

humiliated and marginalized. We see this type of stigma applied to other minorities as well. The

rights-based approach seeks to counter discrimination by monitoring and enforcing equal access

to health care, housing, employment and justice (Shimmen). This in turn leads to practical

improvements for those living with mental illness not only in daily life, but also in self-

confidence and social inclusion. While this approach requires major social and economic

changes, and is thus the most challenging, it ultimately leads to deeper and more permanent


Clearly, to create real change and to effectively reduce stigma for those living with

mental health illnesses, it is imperative to acknowledge the gender differences in the way stigma

is experienced and applied. The only approach so far that seems to acknowledge this is a human

rights-based approach. If gender is not addressed, an anti-stigma campaign could very well have

the reverse effectdoing more harm than good for those living with mental illness (Shimmen).

Because people are more likely to act out of unconscious or hidden bias, knowing

that someone is biased for or against a group of people may cause one to compensate for this
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notion, and carefully reconsider hiring them. Acknowledging biases often opens doors for

ignorant people to learn the error of their thought processes. The Implicit Association Test (IAT)

has helped millions of people reveal their unconscious biases towards themselves and others

around them. The online test includes a series of multiple choice questions that assess how one

would act in a situation that either (a) causes them to behave negatively and oppress someone

else or (b) understand the situation and react humanely.

To test the effects of the test, Greenwald composed a list of 25

types of insects and 25 types of flowers, and found that it was much easier to place the flowers in

groups with pleasant words and insects in groups with unpleasant words more so than the

reverse. It was, however, difficult to hold a mental association of insects with words such as

dream, candy, and heaven, and flowers with words such as evil, poision, and devil

(Vendantam). Greenwald then moved on to the next phase of his experiment, and used

stereotypically Caucasian-sounding names such as Adam and Emily, and African-American

names, such as Jamal and Lakeisha, and grouped them with the pleasant and unpleasant words.

According to Vendantam, Greenwald himself was surprised at the results: I had as much trouble

pairing African-American names with plesant words as I did insect names with pleasant words

(Vedantam). His collaborator, Banaji, was even more self-reflective as she recalls being deeply

embarrassed about her test results. She attested that she, was humbled in a way that few

experiences in my life have humbled me (Vedantam).

In his work, entitled See No Bias, Vedantam explicitly

describes the disappointment and surprise shared by two people who took the test and found their

results did not match their perceived views of themselves. Much to the dismay of these

individuals, the test results were in conflict with their life and career goals. Vendantam explains a
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womans test results in detail after she took an updated version of the IAT saying, The woman

brought up a test on her computer from a Harvard University website. It was really simple. All it

asked her to do was distinguish the differences between a series of black and white faces. When

she saw a black face, she was instructed to hit a key on the left; when she saw a white face, she

was to hit a key on the right. Next, she was asked to distinguish between a series of positive and

negative words. Words such as glorious and wonderful required a tapping of the left key,

while words such as nasty and awful required she touch the key on the right. The test

remained simple when two categories were combined: the activist hit the left key if she saw

either a white face or a positive word, and she hit the right key when she noticed either a black

face or a negative word. The groupings were then reversed. The womans index fingers hovered

over her keyboard. The test now required her to group black faces with positive words, and white

faces with negative words. She leaned forward intently. She made no mistakes, however, it took

her a longer amount of time to correctly sort the words and images. Her results from the test

appeared on the screen after she had finished, and the woman activist fell completely silent. The

test revealed she was biased towards African-Americans, and had a preference for white people

(Vedantam). Such reactions shouldnt really be a surprise to people who

thought themselves to be completely unbiased, according to the writings of several white anti-

racist activists, including Tom Wise. Wise openly acknowledges residual racism still inside them.

Wise notes how unconscious bias relegates the role of whiteness or race becomes clear to a

person, such as the activist described above, shock and disappointment are likely responses

(Wise). Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banjai developed the test in the mid 1990s because it

is well known that people dont always speak their minds, and it is suspected that people dont

always know their minds either (Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz).

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The IAT presents a method that convincingly demonstrates the

divergences of our conscious thoughts and our unconscious biases, according to Harvards

School of Law website on Project Implicit (Harvard School of Law). This unconscious pairing of

negative and positive connotations with names of simple objects has direct correlations to the

real world, especially the work force. Unconscious bias allows people who consciously say they

want qualifying minority employees unconsciously are prejudiced towards applications and

resumes that have African-American names. While there are other factors that are being held

accountable in the application process for applying for a job, names that sound as if they are

attached to someone Caucasian trigger, on average, 50% more callbacks than applications with

names that sound African-American. Explicit bias can occur not only without the intent to

discriminate against certain groups of people, but in spite of explicit desires to recruit minorities

to give outsiders the illusion of diversity (Bertrand and Mullainathan).

Unraveling levels of consciousness requires hard

work; first, there needs to be unnerving and scrupulous honesty. Individuals must become less

focused on feeling tolerant towards themselves and more focused on examining how they

contribute to social biases in the work place. One must be able to realize and accept that the

foundation and continuation of a bias may have, at its root, personal and group gain. Thus, equity

will be reached when at least 40% of all service people (housekeepers, groundskeepers, etc.) are

white men. Published author Lisa Delpit maintains that, The loss from 80% of the managerial

jobs in this country to 40%, their proportion of the population would be an actual loss in the

number of jobs currently allotted to them based on race and gender. That is, they would not have

the jobs they may perceive as expected and modeled as their right in the workplace (Delpit).

Delpit also states that, Liberal educators believe themselves to be operating with good
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intentions, but these good intentions are only conscious delusions about their unconscious true

motives (Delpit). This statement is an indicator that many people are still cynical to the way

things are in the work force changing anytime soon.

Women are subject to several

different forms of bias and oppression in the workplace. Benevolent sexism and gender

harassment are common in work places. These institutional forms of discrimination play a

daunting role in organizational structures, processes, and practices by affecting HR practices and

providing a socializing context for organizational decision-makers levels of hostile and

benevolent sexism and harassment. In other words, workplace discrimination contributes to

womens lower socio-economic status. Importantly, such discrimination against women largely

can be attributed to human resources (HR) policies and HR-related decision-making.

Furthermore, when employees interact with organizational decision makers during HR practices,

or when they are told the outcomes of HR-related decisions, they may experience personal

discrimination in the form of sexist comments. Both the objective disadvantages of lower pay,

status, and opportunities at work, and the subjective experiences of being stigmatized, affect

womens psychological and physical stress, mental and physical health (Goldenhar et al.,

1998; Adler et al., 2000; Schmader et al., 2008; Borrel et al., 2010), job satisfaction and

organizational commitment (Hicks-Clarke and Iles), and ultimately, their performance (Cohen-

Charash and Spector). Importantly, the level of

personal discrimination enacted by organizational decision makers can be reduced by

formalizing HR policies, and by controlling the situations under which HR-related decisions are

made. We have articulated how HR-related decisions involve social cognition and are therefore

susceptible to biases introduced by the use of gender stereotypes. This can occur unwittingly by
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those who perceive themselves to be unprejudiced but who are affected by stereotypes or

negative automatic associations nonetheless (Chugh, 2004 Son Hing et al., 2008). For instance,

when HR policies do not rely on objective criteria, and the context for evaluation is ambiguous,

organizational decision makers will draw on gender (and other) stereotypes to fill in the blanks

when evaluating candidates (Heilman, 1995, 2001). Importantly, the context can be constructed

in such a way as to reduce these biases. For instance, organizational decision makers will make

less biased judgments of others if they have more time available to evaluate others, are less

cognitively busy (Martell, 1991), have higher quality of information available about candidates,

and are accountable for justifying their ratings and decisions (Kulik and Bainbridge,

2005; Roberson et al., 2007). Thus, if they have the time, motivation, and opportunity to make

well-informed, more accurate judgments, then discrimination in performance ratings can be

reduced. Gender inequality in organizations is a

complex phenomenon that can be seen in HR practices (i.e., policies, decision-making, and their

enactment) that affects the hiring, training, pay, and promotion of women. We propose that

gender discrimination in HR-related decision-making and the enactment of HR practices stems

from gender inequalities in broader organizational structures, processes, and practices, including

HR policy but also leadership, structure, strategy, culture, and organizational climate. Moreover,

reciprocal effects should occur, such that discriminatory HR practices can perpetuate gender

inequalities in organizational leadership, structure, strategy, culture, and climate. Organizational

decision makers also play an important role in gender discrimination. We propose that personal

discrimination in HR-related decisions and enactment arises from organizational decision

makers levels of hostile and benevolent sexism. While hostile sexism can lead to discrimination

against women because of a desire to keep them from positions of power, benevolent sexism can
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lead to discrimination against women because of a desire to protect them. Finally, we propose

that gender inequalities in organizational structures, processes, and practices affect organizational

decision makers sexism through attraction, selection, socialization, and attrition processes. Thus,

a focus on organizational structure, processes, and practices is critical (Stamarski and Son Hing).

From discrimination and misunderstanding stems a whole new issue for women in

the work place. Sexual harassment and abuse is outlawed in employment, but still occurs

frequently. According to Emily Crockett of Vox, the history of sexual harassment explains why

so many women wait so long to come forward, or dont come forward at all. In society, women

who report sexual harassment or abuse are viewed as the person at fault, and no one wants to

deal with that when trying to express their pain for just doing their job. Crocket attests that,

Sexual harassment itself is not new; unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances are probably as

old as sex itself. But its only been about 40 years since sexual harassment began to be

considered as a real workplace problem deserving of serious legal attention (Crockett).

The term itself was coined in 1975 by a group of women at Cornell

University, in support of a former colleague who sued for unemployment insurance after she quit

her job over inappropriate touching. Feminist theorists at the time reasoned that constant sexual

harassment held women back in the workplace, and that it both expressed and perpetuated

gender inequality. Federal law has outlawed sex discrimination in employment under Title VII

since 1964. But until the late 1970s, both in the courts and in public opinion, sexual harassment

was considered an interpersonal problem to be worked out privately and not a legal one, said

Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president for workplace justice at the National Womens

Law Center (Crockett). Federal appellate courts finally decided that there should be a rule

against that in the late 1970s, Martin said, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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(EEOC) issued guidelines in 1980 declaring that sexual harassment was a form of unlawful sex


The Supreme Court recognized this in 1986, and also recognized that unlawful sexual

harassment can be either a quid pro quo situation (like proposing sex in exchange for a

promotion) or a severe, pervasive disruption to the work environment whether it's constant

flirting or hostile gendered insults. It took even longer, until 1998, for the Court to acknowledge

that it also counts as gender-based discrimination if the harassment comes from someone of the

same sex. It also wasn't until 1993 two years after Anita Hill went through the public

wringer over her sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas and drew national

attention to the issue that the Court ruled sexual harassment doesn't have to seriously affect

an employees psychological well-being in order to be unlawful. As Justice Sandra Day

OConnor put it, Title VII comes into play before the harassing conduct leads to a nervous


So for a working woman in the 1960s, or even the 1980s, there were few legal protections

and little social awareness that legal action was an option. This would be doubly true if, for

instance, a woman were propositioned by Roger Ailes during a job interview or when she wasn't

even his employee. Several women have alleged that Ailes did just that. "You know if you want

to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys, Ailes allegedly told Kellie Boyle,

who said Ailes used his influence to keep her from getting a job with the Republican National

Committee in 1989 after she declined to accept his sexual proposition. Former model Marsha

Callahan said Ailes made her lift up her skirt and strike suggestive poses during an interview

for The Mike Douglas Show in the late 1960s, and that he abruptly ended the interview after she

balked at his demands to sleep with him if she wanted the job (Crockett).
Scott 20

Its hard to imagine what legal action these women could have taken against Ailes at the

time, or how difficult it would have been for them personally if they did. This was especially true

in earlier decades like the 60s, Martin said. We were in a very different place as a country. We

were even more likely to say about a woman who is complaining of sexual harassment or assault,

What did you do to make that happen? And despite the advances of womens equality through

feminist activism since then, society still regularly blames victims of sexual misconduct for their

own attacks today. The vast majority of women who report sexual harassment still dont report it,

due in large part to this kind of stigma and lack of support. So it shouldn't surprise us if a

professional woman like Carlson waits, as Ziegler put it, until she has nothing to lose before

risking the likely exposure, ridicule, and retaliation of a sexual harassment lawsuit (Crockett).

Essentially, gender bias, oppression, and harassment are all very real issues facing

women in the workforce. The outcomes and mediating factors associated with structural and

interpersonal challenges often contribute to negative outcomes as a result of workplace and

academic mistreatment, including lower job satisfaction and productivity for female workers. For

female STEM students, feeling that ones STEM major has a negative climate is associated with

lower psychological well-being and poorer academic performance perceptions. Thus, there are

important consequences for a womans experiences of mistreatment in STEM. Women can also

unite to avoid stigmatization. Women in the workplace are not simply passive targets of

stereotyping processes. People belonging to stigmatized groups can engage in a variety of anti-

stigmatizing techniques, but their response options are constrained. The most efficacious way for

organizational members to challenge group-based inequality and to improve the status of women

as a whole is to engage in collective action. By participating in unions, signing petitions,

organizing social movements, and recruiting others to join movements, people who believe in
Scott 21

removing biases and stigmas against women in the workplace, and period, can lessen the

inequalities occurring and make a difference for our women, who are people too.
Scott 22

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