Ways Employers Take Advantage Of Women

October 10, 2019  |  
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being a woman in the workplace

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Historically, men have been the ones more likely to kick up a fuss. They’re the ones who start wars and fight wars. They’re the ones who’ve been getting into bar brawls for ages. If you found a politician or hopeful one standing on either a soapbox or a stage throughout history, promoting new ideas and fighting for new policies, it was likely a man. But, now we know that wasn’t because women didn’t want to do all of those things—it’s because society oppressed us. It still seems to run in the bones and blood of people to believe that women “won’t cause trouble,” and I see it a lot in the employment space. I see those in superior positions believing that women will let them get away with certain behavior that men wouldn’t, and so they do those things and say those things just to women. Truly, they’re taking advantage of the idea that women “shouldn’t” act up. But, we should. Here are ways bosses take advantage of female employees that you shouldn’t stand for.

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Unequal pay

This is a big one that we all know is happening. Though on average, the gender pay gap is just shy of 20 percent, it can be worse in certain states and certain industries. If you notice your coworkers in the same position you are, seeming to lead a more luxurious life, do some sniffing around. See if the men are making substantially more. Know this, so you have ground to stand on in asking for a raise.

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Taking out their mood swings

Perhaps because their mothers were women, many bosses associate women with the person to whom they can vent and cry. But that shouldn’t be the case in the workplace. Nonetheless, it’s not uncommon for a boss to take out his or her mood swings on the female employees, more than the male ones, thinking that the women will just stand for it more.

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Withholding a pay increase

It’s quite possible that your male colleagues have been receiving automatic pay increases every year or every few years without even asking. Some bosses do this for male employees, just wanting to avoid the wrath of a man who hasn’t been given a pay raise. Meanwhile, they’ll withhold a raise as long as possible from a woman, believing she probably won’t even ask for it anyways.

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Asking you to stay late

Relying on the idea that women want to be helpful, many bosses will ask their female employees to stay late, foregoing family and social time, to work on something. They also may be leaning on the subconscious idea that women want to prove that they are hard workers, more than men feel the need to prove that.

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Asking you to shorten your break

Another thing a boss may ask women to do more than he asks men to do is to shorten their break to get back to a project. They just think that women won’t argue about it the way men will.

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Giving more work without a raise

Watch out for a boss who sneakily increases your responsibilities, without increasing your pay. Look at the original job description from when you got hired. Would you say there’s a lot more to your job now? Then it’s time for a raise.

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Giving men the better workspace

Look around the workspace. Where do the women sit and where do the men sit? Do the women have to share a desk more than men? Do the men get the window seats? Perhaps the men fought for those, and you didn’t even know you had an option in where you sat. Perhaps your boss didn’t tell you that you had that option, to reduce the employees pestering him about seating arrangements.

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Asking you to do work that isn’t your job

Is somebody sick? Swamped with something else? And does your boss tend to ask the women to take over that person’s tasks? Maybe your boss is quick to ask the female employees to take over the work of a male employee who says he feels overworked. Meanwhile, the women are already overworked.

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Asking you to break bad news

Has everyone’s vacation days been cut? Casual Fridays are cancelled? No bonuses this year? Some bosses may just ask a female employee to break that news, feeling everyone will be less likely to jump down her throat. Or, perhaps feeling she’s more used to getting everyone’s grief.

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Calling you difficult for making demands

When you try to make demands such as for a pay raise or better office conditions, does your boss tell you you’re being difficult? Or high-maintenance? There’s a good chance he doesn’t call male employees those words for making demands. He probably respects them for it. But he’s hoping the assumed female desire to be “agreeable” is stronger in you than your desire for your other wants.

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Asking for help on personal tasks

Like watching their child while they finish up work, keeping you from your real work, or picking out a gift for their wife. You are not your boss’ personal assistant (well, unless you are).

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Using your looks to impress a client

Sometimes, when a potential client or partner is coming into the office, the boss will ask a certain attractive female to be present at the meeting—a female who doesn’t really have a role at that meeting. Essentially, that boss is asking that female employee to be bait. Your boss is putting the idea out there to the potential client that you come with the deal.

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Calling you after hours

Bosses might respect the personal time of female employees far less than that of men. The only way to really stop that is to just not answer phone calls or emails after work hours—that’s probably what your male colleagues do. And it hasn’t gotten them fired.

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Gossiping to you about others

In general, I’ve found that bosses in the workplace think they can get away with behaving more unprofessionally around women than men, and perhaps might gossip to women about other people in the workplace. It’s very inappropriate, and not something you have to sit through.

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Micromanaging you

Do you hear your boss micromanaging the male employees as much as he micromanages the female ones? If not, he may just be a misogynist who has deep-seated ideas that women are to be bossed around.

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