RACE AND SEX IN THE WORKPLACE 1
Race and Sex in theWorkplace
I interviewed Mrs. Anna Woods, an African-American woman who onceworked as a supervisor at a company that designed and installed laserwelding systems. She had worked at the organization for 15 yearsbefore it was forced into bankruptcy. Together with other employees,Mrs. Woods had to sue the company to get her final paycheck.
I asked her about the incident that brought to her attention thedevastating nature of racism and sexism in her workplace. Mrs. Woodssaid that she learned that some of her fellow white male supervisorsearned more than her when she checked at the other employees’claims from the court records. According to Americans for Fair Chance(2014), African-American women with college diplomas earned $19,054less compared to their white male counterparts with the same level ofeducation. I once encountered an African-American man who was auniversity graduate, but his job description was similar to that ofhis juniors most of whom were high school leavers.
The second question I posed to Mrs. Woods was about her experiencewith stereotypes based on her sex. Mrs. Woods said that sheencountered with sexism daily. For example, she was once reprimandedafter one of her juniors accused her of being extra harsh and rude.According to the National Women’s Law Center (2013), there is astereotype that women at the workplace have to act like ladies bydesisting from manifesting aggressive behaviors associated with beinga man. While watching the television one day with the other membersof my family, I found that most of them were opposed to female policeofficers responding to the demonstrators with violence.
When I asked Mrs. Woods how sexism affected her, she said that thevice contributed to her poor remuneration. Hence, she had tostruggle to meet her end needs. According to Stamarski& Hing (2015), women earn 22% less of what theirmale counterparts get in workplaces. For Mrs. Woods, she had torequest for the maximum possible allocation for her graduate studentloan. Most of my college mates from the minority races depend on thegovernment loans to finance their education, even if some of themcome from backgrounds where both parents are well-educated andworking.
I inquired from Mrs. Woods how she dealt with racism and sexism inher workplace. She informed me that she had to work extra hardcompared to her male colleagues as well as the women from the dormantrace. Institutional discrimination against women occurs inperformance appraisals that are aimed at determining organizationalrewards (Stamarski& Hing, 2015). For example, Mrs. Woods had amaster’s degree while some of her seniors possessed only anundergraduate-level certificate. I know many organizations whose topmanagement comprises mainly of white men.
Lastly, I asked Mrs. Woods whether racism and sexism had any impacton her emotional and psychological well-being. Despite theirdedication, discrimination results in women feeling unappreciated andthis affects their self-esteem (Americans for a Fair Chance, 2014). As Mrs. Woods awaited her promotion, she was ridiculed by her whitecolleagues to a point that she questioned her move to advance hereducation. My friend’s brother despite coming from a militarybackground has been serving as a patrol officer in one of the localpolice agencies for over ten years.
In conclusion, sexism and racism have a profound impact on women andparticularly those who come from the minority races. Women earn lessmoney compared to their male colleagues, and the situation is evenworse for those of them who do not come from the dominant race.Discrimination also occurs during the promotion time. My encounterwith racism and sexism resonates with Mrs. Wood’s experience.
Americans for a Fair Chance. (2014). Opportunity through AffirmativeAction. Accessed on August 23, 2016. http://www.civilrights.org/equal-opportunity/fact-sheets/fact_sheet_packet.pdf
National Women’s Law Center. (2013). Sex Stereotypes: How They Hurtwomen in the Workplace-and in the Wallet. Accessed on August 23,2016.http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/suits_fact_sheet_-_sex_stereotypes_01.30.2013.pdf
Stamarski, C.S., & Hing, L. S. S. (2015). Gender inequalities in theworkplace: the effects of organizational structures, processes,practices, and decision makers’ sexism. Frontiersin Psychology, 6.