10 Ways Women are still treated differently at work

Women are STILL being treated differently at work

The battle for equality between men and woman has been ongoing for some time. The major problem is that we are fighting an unseen enemy. No one is outright telling women they won’t be hired or promoted, they just aren’t being hired or promoted. To delve into this further, we’ve looked into the 10 ways women are still being treated differently at work.

1.      Assertive vs. aggressive.

When a man speaks his mind, we praise him for being assertive. Yet, when a woman speaks her mind, we are more likely to label her as aggressive. That’s not to say that the shoe can’t be on the other foot. But the line between assertive and aggressive is much thinner for women than men.

2.      The gender pay gap

The true gender pay-gap is hard to determine. But when comparing equally qualified people doing the same job, most economists put the gap at 10%—20%. One common reason is that women are less likely to negotiate their salaries from fear of appearing too aggressive.

3.      Credit, or lack of, in group projects.

Collaborating on projects with male colleagues might not be such a good idea for women—if they want credit for their input. In studies, women report feeling less valued by employers, compared to male colleagues, on group projects. Worse still, some women even claim to have seen men praised for ideas originating from female teammates.

4.      Competence.

When a man walks into a room, they’re assumed to be competent until they prove otherwise. Women, on the other hand, are automatically assumed to be incompetent—until they prove otherwise.

5.      Promoted on performance.

A new study found that for promotions, male job candidates are judged largely by their potential. Yet females are evaluated more by their past performance.

6.      Considered too emotional.

When men show anger we perceive it as strength. But when women show anger we perceive them as emotional. Some of this skewed perception comes from the idea that women should be nice and kind and nurturing and that men should be strong.

7.      Fatherhood bonus vs. motherhood penalty.

Many employers believe men will put in more effort at work once they become fathers. And they believe women will direct their efforts more towards their kids. For most men this results in a wage bonus. While for most women, it means a wage penalty.

8.      Woman interrupted…and ignored.

Women are frequently interrupted or their ideas passed over when they speak up. A 2014 study from George Washington University revealed that men are 33% more likely to interrupt women than other men. Other times a woman has an idea and it is ignored. Then the idea is presented later by a man in the room, and it is well received.

9.      Social exclusion.

Women often feel left out of social get-togethers by male team members. These events often reflect traditional male interests, such as golf. But they are also a chance to bond and share valuable information that might advantage one’s career.

10. Appearance vs. abilities.

There is an unfair focus on women’s looks and bodies, instead of their abilities. For example, we might view a woman as lacking leadership skills if she’s overweight. But a man may be exempt from the same judgement if he is obese. Studies have even shown that wearing makeup increases how competent and likable we perceive women.


Leadership Directions’ mission is to help emerging and frontline managers achieve positive, long-term behavioral change for themselves and their teams. We achieve this through practical high-quality leadership programs, self-directed action planning and embedded learning support.  Our leadership courses run over one to two days giving you exposure to theories, concepts and real-life examples of managing issues. Our leadership courses teach you the essential skills you need for the workforce including how to deal with difficult conversations, leading teamsmanaging people performance and two day courses such as Supervision and People Management or Emerging Leaders.