January 22, 2024 In Legal Support

Gender Bias

In the world we live in, women are frequently interrupted, talked over, passed over for promotions, fired, denigrated and stigmatized. Not only these, they are often excluded from crucial meetings and projects, ignored, and given ambiguous, unhelpful comments and explanations. Whether it be concerns pertaining to the home or the workplace, they are hardly ever taken seriously. The daily struggles that women face, which impede their professional advancement, drain their energies, and undermine their confidence, are rarely ever talked about. In this patriarchal world, obstacles for women exist in both developed and developing nations, but in a developing country like Bangladesh, the issues are substantially more severe.

Gender bias frequently leads to the immediate assumption that women are less capable just because they are female. When women publicly disagree, they are told they are too difficult or pushy, rather than being recognized for their distinct ideas and contributions. This leads women to have a sense of being marginalized and suppressed, making them lose their determination to challenge the status quo, which prevents them from being seen as fearless leaders who take calculated risks and may generate significant progress. Women in this patriarchal society are required to be outspoken to validate themselves and their beliefs. They need to prove their capabilities time and again, repeatedly demonstrate their ability to get what they deserve; yet they are considered weaker, less intelligent, or not capable enough for long-term commitments and whatnot. In terms of money, opportunity, and interactions, women are not accorded the same respect as males.

Women continuously face hurdles in their day-today lives, but it is extremely challenging for women to thrive at their workplace, especially when it is a male-dominated. Many employers prefer single women who can devote their entire time to work, while men are not held to the same standards. When a man is married and has children, there is never a problem, but women face severe discrimination due to that. Employees who consistently show that they will prioritize work over family or personal life by working after-hours, on weekends, and traveling constantly are frequently rewarded by companies with male-dominated leadership. Employees with no work-life balance are rewarded. The reality is that there is still a significant disparity between the amount of work that men and women take on at home and with children. The women are thought to be the ones to take care of the household, not the men, even though it is both of their responsibilities. Many women find it difficult to drop off household responsibilities and children’s activities for work because of this. That in no way implies that women are less productive. On the other hand, their work is more productive and focused. However, that is not how it is perceived. It is interpreted as a lack of dedication and loyalty. Numerous studies reveal that women are paid much less than males who possess the same skills and experience. Even if women have more degrees or experience than their male counterparts, they are initially believed to be less competent at their jobs because of how they look or how they are dressed.

The essential factor in tackling the problems that women face at their workplaces regularly might be to evaluate “women’s work” adequately. The best way to stop workplace prejudice is for superiors to only consider a person’s work when they respect it, regardless of their gender. It is about time for women to have positions of power because when they would be making decisions, they would consider all perspectives. When women are in roles of power, they can make more informed decisions about what will run a society smoothly since they are empathetic and comprehend a woman’s life, the challenges she has, and her viewpoint. Also, the International Labour Organization (ILO) establishes fundamental labour norms that its members, including Bangladesh, are obliged to uphold. In Bangladesh, there are laws like Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 (BLA), which was amended in 2018 to bring it more in line with the international standards, addressing the hardships women faces in their workplaces. BLA recognizes specifics of labour recruitment process, labour-employer relationships, minimum wages, wage payment, equal pay, protection against discrimination in employment, occupational hazards, collective bargaining, and workplace environment, along with tangible changes with the 2018 amendment on the guarantee of financial benefits to new mothers, and many more. Furthermore, equal rights for men and women in the public arena are recognized by the Constitution, and women’s rights are protected by a rather robust legal and regulatory framework. Gender equality is promoted through the National Women’s Development Policy 2011 and its National Action Plan, providing foundation for government action. Gender equality concerns across a range of sectors are incorporated within the 7th 5-year plan along with a few new sectoral policies, which effectively deals with gender issues.

Barrister Sabrina Zarin

Senior Partner, Equity LLP

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