As a workplace consultant, the author has probably advised thousands of men and women on how to handle workplace discrimination issues both in private industry and government. However, latest statistics shows that it is women, single parents and heads of households –who are the latest victims of this economy, the outsourcing of jobs and the downsizing of corporations. Women are still discriminated against in most aspects of society. They are discriminated against in employment, housing, education, and many other areas. According to experts some of the most alarming statistics regarding women in the workplace include: •Depression is the number one barrier women face in the workplace. •The federal government, the world’s largest employer, has always fostered the “sex-for-jobs” atmosphere. •One out of 20 African American women in the federal government especially federal law enforcement has been on stress leave, is contemplating going on stress leave or is currently on stress leave. Of course the leave is ‘unpaid.’ •Over 40% of female veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reported suffering psychological trauma from sexual assaults or harassment. Four out of ten women have been raped. So a female solider is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by military fire. •Hundreds of teenagers file discrimination complaints each year. More than 70 percent of the cases are sex-related. •Over 70% of women in workplaces are mothers but there is very little “flex time” - anywhere. •Over 98% of all leadership books in the workplace were written by men. •Laws to protect women in the workplace have not been revamped in the past 20 years. More women vote than men - so why haven’t laws been introduced and passed to protect women in the workplace? But the statistics do not fully tell the story of the anguish of women who have been told in various ways on the first day of a job that sexual favors are expected. Or the story of women who were sexually assaulted by men with whom they continued to work. Women don’t go to work to be touched, to be talked down to, and to be told what their bodies look like. They know what their bodies look like. But constant remarks about their bodies, and unwanted touching, advances, mean-spirited “pranks” and other forms of sexual harassment are a regular occurrence for many women in the workplace today. Women are stalked, intimidated and hounded for sex by male managers and co-workers and many will become victims of sexual assaults. Women are reporting constant patterns of humiliating and threatening behavior that leave them exhausted and dreading their jobs. We need to connect the present conditions in the community with “employment discrimination.” We need to look at ‘criminalizing’ discrimination because people do end up homeless as a result especially women.
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