What’s Being a Woman Got to Do With It?

Over the past couple of months I have become increasingly aware of the fact that sex discrimination in the workplace is still very much a problem. For some reason, call it wishful thinking, I thought that with all the anti-discrimination laws that are out there and the spiels that new employees get about sexual harassment and open door policies, that there would be fewer instances of women being discriminated against in the workplace.  I guess I was wrong.

I just recently read about a woman who was fired from her job at Citibank because she was too “curvaceous”. The woman, Debrahlee Lorenzana, says that while working for the bank she was told to wear makeup, not wear high heels because it caused her “shape” to be too distracting to her male co-workers, and was told that she should straighten her hair before coming to work. Lorenzana complained to Citibank HR officials about the unfair treatment, was transferred to another department, and then fired. In another case, a Hooters waitress came out saying that during her annual employee review she was told she had 30 days to lose a significant amount of weight or she would lose her job. Hooters was even so nice as to offer a free gym membership. Both of these cases are just examples of what happens all around the U.S.

In May, Wal-Mart was sued for sex discrimination. The class-action suit is the largest sex discrimination suit in U.S. history. The case began with 6 women in 2001 and by the time it was approved to move forward in April this year there were more than one million women suing the corporation, which could possibly mean billions in damages for the company. The women are saying that they were not paid as much as their male counterparts, denied advancement, and their sexual harassment complaints were ignored. Nothing has been decided yet.

There have been some wins lately against sex discrimination in the workplace, including a large settlement for women working at Novartis Pharmaceuticals who had filed a sex discrimination suit.  There was also the decision that the U.S. Navy would finally start allowing women to serve on submarines. So it definitely seems that more women are speaking up and changes are being made, but there are still concerns that these changes are not enough and that there is still a lot of work to be done. While more women are earning more advanced degrees than men these days, women still make 78 cents to the men’s dollar. Obviously, there is still sex discrimination going on and more work on this issue needs to be done, but hopefully with more women speaking up, things will continue to change for the better.

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2 Comments

  1. kodimirpal
    Posted June 5, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    The firing of Lorenzana by the citibank shows the double standard of the West. This has been the crux of arguments by the religious minorities living in the west. Now the truth comes out in the case of Lorenza. Why not allow her to show off her revealing bosom if she wanted to. why restrict her on dresses. Why not she be provocative.

    A Muslim woman who wants to cover more will ask similar questions. Why not I cover as much as I wish to. why can not I be less provocative and less sexy? If the western countries are true to what they say about the fundamental rights, why interfere with the fundamental rights of Lorenza.In the same breathe why interfere with the fundamental rights of the Muslim women. It is sheer hypocrisy, bias, pretentious culture and open double standard. Even in the liberal West, it is an offence for women to go half naked. There are restrictions on dress even in Europe, is the contention of Muslims. The difference is only in degree when it comes to modesty.

    Absolute freedom is non-existent in any culture. Being social animals, men and women have animal magnetism and sex appeal. One can never deny the fact that when a young man looking at a woman revealing a major part of her firm, round, shapely and bulging breasts gets sexually excited and would have train of quite often lewd thoughts in his mind. Hence religious laws on dress code. The West judges one set of rules as barbaric simply because OF ALIEN CULTURE BASE and another set as liberation

    • Lauren
      Posted July 17, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree. Western ideals tell women that they can wear what they want, and should wear what they want, and should still be respected for doing so. This is not the case of Muslim women. Muslim women are ostracized because they want to cover their bodies up, and because they know the true inclination of men. The reason why they wear hijabs, niqabs, or covering outfits is to please the Creator. It’s sad to see many European countries impose upon Muslim women a certain dress-code, but then again do not want to for women who are barely dressed. It’s a double standard and a sad reality, but ultimately both sides should be governed with equal rights despite personal politics and agendas. I am a Muslimah, and find it horrifying to see how Muslim women are questioned over what they wear, but see women without a headscarf who aren’t questioned.

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