Does Gender Inequality Have a Negative Impact on Performance and Productivity?

Considering the vast progress society has made in the last few decades, one would think that we’ve also trumped gender inequality for good. Sadly, this is a sad cry from reality. It’s very much present in all spheres of human activity, especially the professional.

The wage gap; sexual harassment; men failing upwards, while their, often more competent, female counterparts have to fight for every opportunity, promotion are only some of the issues that pertain to gender inequality. With that being said, let’s take a look at how such a state of affairs can affect individuals’ performance and productivity.

Mental Health Ramifications of Gender Inequality

Every person needs a healthy and supportive work environment to thrive and realize their fullest potential. However, when that environment is imbued with discrimination, health issues can arise. 

Statistically, women who experience discrimination at work are prone to higher levels of anxiety, which can often lead to depressive episodes. In such situations, they often develop various – often advert – coping mechanisms, which can hinder their capacity to fulfil their job duties. 

Increased Risk of Workplace Conflict 

Discrimination is, indisputably, harassment in a different form, which is already extremely problematic as it is. With that being said, it can also increase the risk of conflict in the workplace. When there’s a recurring drama in the office, it will take away the team’s focus from actual job duties. 

Moreover, it can divide a team on those siding with the individual who’s experiencing discrimination and those defending the discriminator. In such an environment, teamwork and communication can be severely limited, which will ultimately affect job performance and productivity of a team or a department.

Diminished Workplace Morale

If there’s a conflict boiling in the workplace, employees can very much feel it. It saturates the entire workplace dynamic, even the less-significant activities, like going for a break at different times of day to avoid conflict. All of this affects team morale and overall workplace atmosphere, which are essential components of a productive and motivated professional environment.

Poor Organizational Productivity

With the increasing conflict among colleagues and perishing morale, workplace productivity will inevitably follow the declining trend. Every business leader knows that employee happiness and satisfaction are key to the overall performance of the company. 

But if individuals are focused on avoiding negative behaviour, like witnessing or experiencing gender discrimination, employee performance and productivity will suffer significantly.

Legal Consequences of Gender Discrimination

Lastly, companies need to consider other ramifications of gender discrimination, such as legal ones. Any sort of discrimination, including gender inequality, can instigate severe legal actions. 

If a company avoids addressing or recognizing discrimination allegations or doesn’t take necessary actions against discrimination, a dissatisfied employee could file a lawsuit because the company failed to protect their rights.

Essentially, gender inequality is very much present in today’s world, and it can significantly affect the way individuals who are being targeted perform in their workplace. Discrimination can lead to serious mental health issues; it gives rise to workplace conflict, and consequently, workplace morale and productivity suffer.

[1] Leonard, Kimberlee. “The Effects of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace.” Chron.com [Online] Available at: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/effects-gender-discrimination-workplace-2860.html [Accessed on: 26 June 2020]

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