Women face many challenges in the workplace. In recent years, society has been making positive progress towards gender equality in the workplace. However, there remain numerous challenges women face on a daily basis that cause anxiety and depression, causing many women to hold themselves back professionally out of fear. In this article, we will be discussing the challenges women face at work and how mediation can help.
Sadly, some of these challenges must be dealt with through mediation services to help resolve things and put measures in place that prevent further issues.
Workplace meditation is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone has a fair say in a dispute. Meditation takes an unbiased approach and allows grievances to be aired in a non-judgemental, professional manner on topics involving (but not limited to) workplace disagreements, family disputes, commercial settlements so that everyone can move forward.
There are numerous challenges women face in the workplace. Below we will discuss the most common and significant.
A common work disparity among women is due to the gender pay gap. According to research from WEF, it will take 202 years to close the gender pay gap, a problem that 51% of women report as being the most significant issue in the workplace.
Many women find the issue of the gender pay gap extremely difficult, often reporting that pay negotiations, contractual issues, and bonus structures in the workplace are significantly gender-biased against women.
Discussing pay with an employer can be a very delicate and difficult topic, particularly if it has been raised previously but no changes have been made. Mediation can be a great help in situations where pay disputes arise as it allows a safe space for employers and employees to share their thoughts and discuss the issue in a helpful way.
While mediation is not a way to enforce legal rights, it can help discuss and resolve pay disputes. For example, the Equality Act 2010 states that men and women have the right to equal pay for equal work. So, if you feel this is not being honoured by your employer, mediation can be a helpful way to discuss this.
Everyday sexism and racism in the workplace, otherwise known as microaggression, is something women suffer with on a regular basis. Whether intentional or not, microaggression can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellness of women in the workplace.
Microaggression can take many forms. According to Yahoo News, “if you’ve ever had to work twice as hard as a male colleague to prove yourself, or if you’ve ever had your judgement questioned in your area of expertise, the chances are you’ve experienced a microaggression. It’s a term to describe everyday slights and insulates normally related to someone’s gender, race, sexual orientation or disability status. And while these incidents can be subtle, their impact can have a serious impact on confidence and performance.”
Mediation is essential for all organisations and should be a top priority for ensuring effective people management. Microaggressions suffered by women are hugely damaging and must be dealt with immediately. Mediation provides space for both parties to discuss the grievance in a completely voluntary and confidential way so that a solution can be met that is agreeable to both parties.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is extremely damaging. Citizens Advice defines sexual harassment as: “unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which: violates your dignity. Makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated. Creates a hostile or offensive environment.” Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is very widespread and according to Center for Talent Innovation, affects 1 in 3 women.
Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be tolerated. It must be dealt with immediately, sensitively, and professionally. And mediation can be a great way to tackle this difficult issue confidentially, without too much expense, and as a way to avoid any damage to the company’s reputation.
In many cases of workplace sexual harassment, mediation helps find an acceptable resolution. Sadly, many organisations face an extraordinary number of sexual harassment cases every year and these can be very expensive and time-consuming to solve. What’s more, court proceedings can be embarrassing for the victim.
Mediation provides a more comfortable option for both parties. It offers a less formal setting in which to discuss the harassment and ensure both parties have a chance to explain what happened. Mediation can be an excellent forum for resolving reports of sexual harassment in the workplace internally, without bringing outside attention to the issue, ensuring the protection of both the victim and the reputation of the organisation.
Even today, women are still being forced to decide between progressing their careers or having a family. Despite organisations becoming more open to women taking maternity leave, many mothers return to find they are expected to continue working as they did before. However, this isn’t always the most suitable option.
Women juggle multiple responsibilities, both professionally and personally, and sometimes they require flexibility from their bosses to help manage this. Unfortunately, many organisations remain inflexible and aren’t always understanding on this topic. As a result, gender bias can become an issue.
Mediation allows women the opportunity to speak confidentially with managers or offending parties and demand changes be made. Mediation is completely voluntary, so women do not have to partake if they do not want to. It provides an excellent opportunity to discuss any grievances in a professional and understanding environment. What’s more, a solution is commonly sought so that both parties can move forward together with confidence.
Women are still fighting for equality in the workplace where they are treated with respect and given every opportunity to further their professional development.
However, unfortunately, there are numerous challenges that must be overcome. While mediation can’t provide a solution to all of these challenges, it can certainly help organisations stay on the right path, supporting everyone with moving forward in a positive way, together.
Glenn Sigurdson believes that the role of the mediator is to work with the parties to design a process that creates an opportunity to have a conversation about their differences.By S. Glenn Sigurdson