dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women



prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex


Two definitions of very similar unpleasant social mindsets. Even at the most basic level of articulacy, the fact that there are
neo-synonyms to describe an aversion to women is in itself pretty repulsive.


Misogyny in the workplace was brought front and centre to the world’s attention – more so than usual – this summer when the Spain women’s football team, brilliantly won their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

On August 20th, as the players were coming up to receive their medals, having defeated England in the Final, Luis Rubiales, President of Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) – the Spanish FA – and part of the presentation party, grabbed Jenni Hermoso roughly on the both sides of her head and planted an unwanted kiss on her lips.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Rubiales, and the RFEF then went on to make false statements about the incident, including fabricating a statement from Hermoso herself. The incident, and the subsequent behaviour of the RFEF as whole, shocked not just the football world, but brought condemnation from outside football, including the Spanish government.

This was in addition to Rubiales grabbing his crotch when Spain scored. He was no more than ten feet from 16 year-old Infanta Sofía, second in line to the throne of Spain at the time.

Despite, in the intervening time, Rubiales protesting his innocence, claiming it was consensual, then a witch hunt, then blaming something called ‘ultra-feminism’, he eventually resigned on September 10th. His position had been made untenable as he had already been suspended on August 26th.

While it was a kiss on the lips that drove the issue into the stratosphere, it was always merely the straw that broke the camel’s back. The real issue was always the unequal treatment the women received compared to the men, and the lack of respect they received from all departments of the Spanish FA.

Laws? What laws?

Football has always had an uncanny knack of mirroring the society it inhabits. Many in Spain are saying the behaviour of male authority in that country, not just in football but through all society, has to change. But everyone knows, at least those who care, know that this is a global issue. There is barely a culture or society which doesn’t operate an overbearing patriarchy.

Most western European countries have gender equality laws – with the exception of one (yup, the UK) – as does the European Union. However, any laws are only worth the paper they are written on when it comes to enacting and enforcing them.

The caveat to that is – but, of course – the UK, which currently has no laws in place to give women the right to receive equal pay with men for doing the same job. That law was recently scrapped along with hundreds of others in the Government’s post-Brexit ‘EU Retained Law Bill’.

These laws included a regulation establishing the right of women to claim equal pay and terms with men if they ultimately work for the same “source” setting their employment terms and conditions. Now, these laws no longer exist on the UK statute books.

While Government ministers, effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater in their zeal to repeal everything European, have promised to re-instate those laws, no timeframe has been placed on that.

Where do the problems lie?

It merely highlights the disdain with which many aspects of authority treats women, whether that’s governmental, judicial, commercial, or every day social. Inequality in the workplace can take several forms. The prejudices can range from the grotesque example given above – in full public with mendacious, cowardly responses afterwards – to the every day institutional practices, almost all of which are pretty archaic, but perversely, are also alive and kicking…

A few gender inequality examples to show the breadth of this topic:

• Unequal pay: Irrespective of the laws (currently suspended) on equal pay, there is gender pay reporting. Sadly, it often comes across as merely a box-ticking exercise, even when companies must follow government guidelines regarding this matter.

• Unfavourable recruitment strategy: This can include questions about whether a female candidate intends to have children, or suggesting in your job specification that the role is more for men. This rule applies to age, ethnicity, disability and all other social aspects.

• Different opportunities: If your business has career progression opportunities that favour men over women.

• Redundancies: Ending a female employee for making a claim of unequal treatment at work – in any form.

• Bias: Showing preferential treatment towards male colleagues over female ones, such as in promotions or day-to-day conversation.

• Sexual harassment: See above on this one. Not only is sexual harassment common, the understanding of what qualifies a sexual harassment is often missing. Add to this an act of gross misconduct, this behaviour towards men or women can have serious consequences.

• Holding sexist views: Promoting bigoted views about men or women, such as outdated gender stereotypes in any form. It can make itself known subtly as above, or as part of a casual, or even deliberate conversation which seeks to undermine colleagues on the basis of gender.

Types of gender inequality can vary dramatically between men and women, and it’s not all a one-way street, but history has shown the vast majority of the direction of traffic. Any decent Human Resources department would insist that company bosses stay vigilant, and have clear policies on how to expect employees to behave in around their working environment.


Pay gap

There is something called Equal Pay Day, a symbolic date and event created to highlight wage inequity. It fell on March 24th this year. This day shows how far into the next year – 83 more days in 2022 – women need to work just to be able to earn the same that men earned in the previous year.

For official UK figures, the 2022 mean GPG (the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly pay) is 5.45% and the median is 9.71%. In monetary terms, the mean hourly difference in ordinary pay is £1.44 compared to £1.48 in 2021, while the median hourly difference is £2.41 compared to £2.68 in 2021.

There is always a caveat when calculating these figures, and in some cases, can be slightly misleading. The calculation is across the board. What is doesn’t take into account is the number of women in more senior positions in comparison to men, and hence, a higher salary.

And this is where we return to the historical sexism within commerce. Not only is women’s pay lower (despite that being illegal), there are still fewer opportunities being made available for women to be promoted.

More of the same?

Worryingly, while the RFEF is slowly having a clear out, the sexist culture still remains within the organisation. The pace at which
the RFEF moved to support its female players – some of whom still refuse to play for their country until systemic change is in place – was abysmal, and yet so many are merely shrugging their shoulders.

The world’s attention may be on the RFEF, but it’s merely indicative of entire swathes of commercial, sporting and social culture which, even with enforced legislation in place, is still stuck in the Dark Ages, and will promote and excuse misogyny on a whim.


The 12 most common examples of sexism/misogyny in the workplace

According to mental wellbeing specialists ‘I feel’

Restricting my participation because I’m the only woman

Being the only woman in the room is not an example of male sexism in the workplace, but establishing a work environment of overwhelming masculinity can be.


The glass ceiling

For some women, the glass ceiling is a reality proven by facts. This generates a feeling of helplessness, fed by the lack of references. No glass ceiling can be broken by believing that it cannot be broken in any way.


Working mothers’ guilt

Guilt is not an example of sexism at work either, but sexism in the workplace can lead to more intense regrets than they should be.


Mansplaining – or the infantilisation of women

For some reason, some men think that women are not ready to understand some issues the first time or do not consider them adult and insightful people. This leads them to what is known as “mansplaining”, a paternalistic and condescending attitude of the man towards the woman.


Sexual harassment at work

It is an abuse consisting of verbal or physical manifestations of a sexual nature that intimidate, offend, denigrate or pressure the person who suffers it, being a woman more often than a man. Victims of sexual harassment should remember that they are not the cause of the harassment.


Judging by clothing or general appearance

When their appearance becomes a recurring topic of conversation, the focus is always on how they look but not on how they work, even if it is with positive opinions about their appearance.


Discrimination in recruitment processes

Many women are still perceived as lesser candidates due to prejudices about their character or how their performance will be affected by the family they have or will form in the future. If the decision has been made beforehand, there is not much to do, and there is always a reflection: maybe one doesn’t want to belong to a company that treats women like this.


Pregnancy as an occupational hazard

Fear of telling the company that you are pregnant or fear of not being able to progress in your career if you become pregnant may be due to sexism in the workplace. A company that functions well does not see that its employees have children as a problem. However, not all companies work this way.


Family care: double shift

Although some families are quite well organised, family care tasks fall more heavily on women than on men. This makes it difficult for many women to balance work and family life. It stresses them out and makes them feel used.


10 Excessive “toxic masculinity” during pre-meetings

In the moments before a meeting, or during the meeting, for example, with external male clients, an exclusionary atmosphere can be created, based on allegedly ‘bloke’ topics of conversation that leave women out.


11  The need to justify the achievements more than men

In particular work contexts, the explanation of women’s professional achievements is related to all kinds of excuses, rather than their merits. Women should not have to spend their energy deconstructing colleagues’ prejudices, nor justify their merits.


12  Gender pay gap

Sexism in the workplace strengthens beliefs that women’s work is not worth as much as they thought it was or that it is, but there is no point in claiming it.

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