Michelle Cohen Levy

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Gender discrimination across class lines

| Mar 5, 2020 | Workplace Discrimination |

Despite the #MeToo movement and widespread media attention to sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, women in Florida continue to face gender discrimination on the job. Around 40% of women across the country say that they have witnessed or personally experienced discrimination on the job; although, rates may vary considerably depending on their education and social class.

While many may expect that low-income workers may suffer more frequently from discrimination, only 7% of women who did not complete high school reported harassment or mistreatment at their current jobs. On the other hand, 13% of women with advanced degrees said the same.

There are several potential reasons for these disparities. Low-wage workers may be more likely to work in primarily female “pink-collar” occupations. Sexism may still affect their treatment on the job, but some of those expectations may be difficult to entangle from the service industry overall. In addition, these figures reflected discrimination in current employment; workers in low-wage jobs may be more willing to quit and find alternative employment if they face sexual harassment or discrimination.

On the other hand, women in high-profile, well-paid positions may want to advance at their jobs and seek promotions, and the types of discrimination that both workers experience may differ. While highly paid women may be more likely to run into the “glass ceiling,” low-wage workers are more likely to encounter severe harassment.

The costs of workplace discrimination may be substantial. Not only do victims of discrimination face thousands of dollars in lost wages and promotions, but they could also suffer long-term physical and mental health effects, which disproportionately affect poor and working-class women. Women in all professions continue to run up against discriminatory conduct that imposes significant financial burdens. An employment law attorney may help a worker to protect their rights and seek accountability.