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Introduction: Women discrimination has been reported in most of countries both in developed and developing countries.

Some jobs traditionally have been dominated by men and it is not easy for women to get in such as these jobs and when men and women are in the same profession, women get paid less for several reasons. In many industries women are paid less than their male counterparts for similar work. Overall in 2008, in the majority of countries, womens wages represented between 70% and 90% of mens wages for the same job. Statistics show that across all sectors (excluding nurses, bus drivers, housemaids and typists) women earn 10% to 15% less than their male counterparts.( ILO, 2010). There are two myths concerning the reasons why women are paid less than men. One myth is that women work for different reasons than men. Men are believed to work for economic security and to take care of their families, while women are believed to work for luxury items such as second cars, clothes, jewelry and makeup. The second myth is that the wage gap is only a womens issue. When women get paid less, everyone suffers. The wage gap is the deliberate underpayment of jobs filled primarily by women and people of color. This wage gap can also help to explain why older, retired women are in poverty. Pension and Social Security benefits are based on a persons earnings until retirement so the inequity lasts a lifetime Forms of Discrimination: There are two types of discrimination that arise within the workplace, direct and indirect: Direct discrimination (disparate treatment) occurs when female employees are treated less favorably than their male counterparts, solely on the grounds of gender. This can include, for example, female employees receiving a lower wage than their male peers, despite having the same experience. It can also include being asked discriminatory questions at a job interview, and an employer not hiring, promoting or wrongfully terminating an employee on the basis of gender. An example of wrongful termination could be dismissing a female worker after the employer finds out she is pregnant. Indirect discrimination (disparate impact) occurs when a companys policies and practices make it difficult for women to fulfill job requirements, or make it very cumbersome for women to continue working. Examples of disparate impact can include inflexible working conditions making it difficult for a mother to work full-time or part-time, or having to satisfy strength requirements for a job which are especially onerous for a woman to achieve. The absence of maternity leave provisions may also be considered to be disparate treatment. Problem and issues: According to The Labour Principles: A Guide for Business the ILO explains that workplace discrimination can occur with respect to: access to employment, promotion, training and vocational guidance, recruitment, hours of work and rest and paid holidays. Discrimination

prevents women from attaining the right to equality and denies realisation of other fundamental rights, including the right to security of the person and the protection of the family. Strategic and operational requirements oblige companies to work in countries where discrimination against women can be entrenched in law, culture and practice. Gender discrimination in terms of job salaries is a dilemma nowadays. Imagine: 1- How a company respects the right to equality for women when operating in a country where widespread discrimination and violence against women is culturally and legally entrenched? 2- What should a project manager do when code of ethics and professionalism prohibit gender discrimination yet local cultural, legal and business norms permit and promote discrimination against women?

Suggestions: In order to promote gender equality in such working environment and to tackle this dilemma a project manager may take these actions listed below: 1- Policy and procedure a. A project manager should consider developing and implementing human rights policies in order to provide a foundation for a socially responsible approach to the elimination of gender-based discrimination in the workplace. A useful starting point for policy formulation in this realm is the UN International Fund for Womens Women Empowerment Principles. These principles, launched in March 2009, set out concrete actions informed by real life business practices aimed at forestalling inequality within the workplace. b. Compliance with national law on gender equality. If there are no national laws in relation to gender discrimination, the policy should commit to international standards, such the UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Where local laws differ from the companys policy the higher standard should prevail as long as it does not violate national law. c. Maintaining records on the recruitment, training and promotion of female employees. These could be measurable and incentivised. These records can then be analysed to assist a company when implementing policy and committing to gender goals. Publishing these figures is advisable since transparency is important and circulating this information to all the stakeholders maintains a high level of accountability d. Monitoring and auditing to oversee compliance with gender policy

2- Staff training: Provide staff training to employees on company-wide policies, which can include policies and practices with respect to gender. It may be advisable that training is provided during work hours, to ensure access to all. Any policy changes can also be disseminated to all employees through this training and made easily accessible 3- Skill development training: A project manager may establish programmes that promote access to skills development training for women employees, especially in occupations that are male dominant and should try and ensure that training provided to workers is accessible to all women, including those with family responsibilities. In countries where women are not given access to a basic education, programmes could include both workplace, as well as life training. 4- Grievance mechanism: Develop grievance mechanisms and procedures to address complaints, handle appeals and provide recourse for women who have faced discrimination. Depending on a companys resources, these mechanisms can take the form of a telephone hotline, complaints box, or through the appointment of a gender representative. It should be clearly communicated that these mechanism: a. Are readily accessible to women b. Can be anonymous, if the female employee wishes c. Will not result in the complainant facing retribution if any claims are not proved d. Will have structures and procedures ensuring that all complaints are thoroughly investigated e. Will have appropriate and fair restitution mechanisms 5- Create family friendly working conditions: Create structures in the workplace which provide family friendly working conditions. Introducing family friendly structures may also give rise to a gradual change in cultural attitudes, by weakening the traditional barriers. Family friendly structures can include: a. On-site day care centres, or the company subsidising day-care b. Flexible working hours c. The choice to work from home d. Flexible maternity leave This is what exactly practiced by IBM. 6- National action plan: In regions where gender discrimination is culturally embedded and clearly not in-line with company policy, project manager may advise company to join government-led or supported

initiatives. Taking a collaborative approach ensures compliance with national legal standards and facilitates government endorsement. In Egypt, for example, the government, in partnership with the UN and other international organisations, created the Gender Equality Model Egypt (GEME). GEME provides private firms with the training to document gender disparities, take corrective action in particular cases, and institutionalise gender equality.

If you think it is good to include or necessary There are many case studies on how a company could tackle women discrimination and promoting gender equality in the workplace such as: Air France: in 2008 HR managers attended a training session to help them understand the Professional Equality report, improve their knowledge of the legal issues and raise their awareness about gender equality. Air France also participates in projects that encourage schoolgirls to consider traditionally male-dominated jobs in the airline industry (pilots and mechanics) and schoolboys to consider traditionally female-dominated jobs in the airline industry (retailers, bookkeepers, flight attendants). COSCO Group: COSCO aims to protect the legal rights and special interests of female employees and has established a Female Employee Committee to assist in achieving these goals. The company has established a wage payment system which guarantees fair and comparable wages for all employees doing comparable work, an open competition program which ensures promotion of competent females and a collective contract to be signed by trade unions which specifically addresses concerns relevant to female employees. In addition, COSCO has created special health benefits for women including bi-annual gynaecological health examinations in addition to regular health examinations.

References: Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department,(2010) General Directorate on the Status of Women, 2008, Policy Document: Women and Education,

International Labour Organization, 2008, Labour principles of the United Nations Global Compact: A Reference for Business/International Labour Office, Geneva,

UN Global Compact and UNIFEM, Womens Empowerment Principles, March 2010, Companies Leading the Way: Putting the Principles into Practice, g_the_Way.pdf