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Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

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An examination of gender discrimination must be approached with an understanding of how it differs from sexism.     The primary difference being that gender discrimination is an act of prejudice, as opposed to sexism being the attitude or language of prejudice that fosters it.     It is also important that gender discrimination is examined separately from sexism in order to establish the manifestations of prejudice directed at women rather than just the attitudes that foster such prejudice.     Like sexism, however, sexual discrimination can be blatant, covert or subtle.     The only difference being that it is the act or acts of discrimination themselves that are either obvious, hidden or internalized by women and their male counterparts as normal behavior (Gregory, 2003, p.

5; Swim, Mallett & Stangor, 2004, p. 1).                         Cleveland, Stockdale, and Murphy (2000) suggest that gender discrimination does not have to occur in the workplace in order to exact a negative influence on where and how women advance themselves in the workplace.   According to the researchers, this phenomenon is evidenced explicitly in the way that many organizations endeavor to recruit female workers.   Consider, for example, the newspaper advertisement placed by one organization calling for dancers who are interested in having fun and getting paid.   The advertisement indicates that no experience is necessary.   Indeed, it also states that applicants must be 18 years of age and can earn as much as $400 a week to start (Cleveland, Stockdale & Murphy, 2000, p.

156).   Also, consider the newspaper advertisement placed by another organization.     It called for females willing to travel locally, to apply for a position as an office assistant and personal secretary, with the disclaimer that typing is not required for the position (Cleveland, Stockdale & Murphy, 2000, p.

156).                         A comparison of the two newspaper advertisements reveals that the first advertisement makes no reference to the gender of the applicants that the organization is seeking.     However, anyone that reads the advertisement is likely to assume that it is directed at women and that the applicants who will be hired for the job will be women.  

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