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42 percent of women report experiencing workplace discrimination

Most Wisconsin workers want the same thing -- to be treated with respect and dignity at their place of employment. Workplace discrimination undermines this and often creates and fosters hostile environments, in which otherwise competent workers struggle. Women in particular seem to bear the brunt of much of this discrimination.

A survey from the Pew Research Center found that women are twice as likely to experience workplace discrimination as their male counterparts. Approximately 42 percent of employed women reported that they have faced discrimination based on their gender. About 22 percent of surveyed men reported experiencing gender-based discrimination.

Income discrimination was one of the most commonly reported issues, with 25 percent of women claiming that their male peers were paid more for performing the same job. Only 5 percent of men reported that a female counterpart had earned more. The survey also found that women are treated as incompetent because of their gender four times as often as men are, with 23 percent of women saying they have been biased against in this manner versus only 6 percent of working men.

The survey also demonstrated that women with different educational backgrounds experience discrimination differently. For example, 57 percent of women with postgraduate degrees reported experiencing workplace gender discrimination. Another 40 percent of women with bachelor's degrees experienced gender discrimination, and 39 percent of employed women without college degrees said the same.

Workplace discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. However, it may be particularly difficult for Wisconsin women who are treated as incompetent based on their gender, as getting superiors to take their complaints can be a struggle. Compensation for any type of discrimination in the workplace is often necessary for victims, especially when they have missed out on promotions, raises or have even lost their jobs. Suits carefully pursued to completion can not only achieve legal recourse for these damages, but can also affect change that protects future workers.

Source: Pew Research Center, "Gender discrimination comes in many forms for today's working women", Kim Parker and Cary Funk, Dec. 14, 2017

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