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WORK

DISCRIMINATION

Imagine that it is a standard practice at your company to assign company cars for business trips. However, a female employee does not get the car her male colleague got two weeks ago for the same business trip. There is no objective reason, such as the car unavailability. The only reason why the woman is not assigned the car is the stereotype that women are bad drivers. It happens even though, according to statistics, men cause 6.1 million accidents and women 4.4 million. 

Discrimination also often happens at school. Girls tend to get worse grades in science classes than boys despite answering similarly. This comes out of the deep-rooted, wrong stereotype that “girls simply cannot understand science.”

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It has many forms: people discriminate because of sex, race, language, age, sexual orientation, beliefs, religion, political or other different opinions, origin, nationality or ethnicity, property, gender, or some other stance.

 

Discrimination based on sex or gender is often ignored as it is deeply-rooted in gender stereotypes which people consider to be normal and right. The typical example is that women over 30 have lower chances of getting employed or receiving a promotion cause it is automatically assumed that they would have children by then. 

Equally, it is often considered normal not to employ a woman with a small child because she is automatically assumed to need a lot of absences if her child falls ill. This comes out of an assumption that only a woman is responsible for raising children and taking care of her household. Men do not tend to get asked about their parenthood plans during interviews.  

DISCRIMINATION AND INTOLERANCE ARE NOT THE SAME THING.

Multiple discrimination is a term describing the discrimination of a single person for multiple, various reasons. In cases where women fall into various disadvantaged groups, there is a higher probability they will be treated worse than the rest of the people in either group.

 

For example, if a Roma woman with a health disability applies for a job, she may experience discrimination based on her health problems as well as her sex and race. 

DIRECT AND INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION 

Direct discrimination based on one’s sex happens when people are treated less fairly only because of their sex. 

If, for example, a company is looking for an assistant, they publish an ad which says the following: “We will accept a woman up to 25 years old,” This is direct discrimination based on sex and age. The company does not allow men and people over 25 years old to apply for the job. 
 

Direct discrimination would also happen if the company would need to choose one of two applicants for a management position, one male and the other female, and they select the man despite the woman having more experience and better  qualifications (higher education, practice, etc.) The only deciding factor would be that men “fit” better in higher positions. 

Indirect discrimination based on sex acts as a neutral regulation, decree, instruction, or practice which, upon closer look, in practice it is disadvantaging one or more people. 

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POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION 

There is no such thing as “positive discrimination”. Discrimination is always used for disadvantaging people and this may never be considered positive. This term is made-up and self-contradictory. 

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Many democratic countries adopt so called “temporary special measures” such as “affirmative action”. These measures serve to achieve a real equality and dignified living conditions for us all. They are a legitimate tool to uproot inequality and get rid of the effects of discrimination against particular groups of people. 

In practice, applying such measures means that applicants shall not be excluded based only on their race, sexual orientation, religion, or sex, but, the other way around, get the job position also based on these attributes.