5 Shady Signs You're Being Bullied At Work Because You're A Woman

As much as we would like to pretend gender discrimination doesn't exist, it does.

5 Shady Signs You're Being Bullied At Work Because You're A Woman getty

By Suzanne Kleinberg

Even though the Civil Rights Act (and other state legislation) protect women from workplace bullying and gender discrimination, it still happens. Whether it's being passed over for a promotion or getting paid less than a male co-worker in the same job, or being demeaned in the office, it's possible that women are being demeaned or facing discrimination in the workplace.

While the aforementioned scenarios are some of the more common examples of gender discrimination, it's important to know that this type of inequity is sometimes subtler. Not only are covert examples of gender discrimination equally unacceptable, they only signal even more inappropriate behavior in the future.


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That's why it's super important that you protect yourself. Here are five subtle examples of gender discrimination in the workplace you must be aware of:

1. Suddenly, your interview gets personal.

An interviewer who feels comfortable asking questions such as “Do you have or plan to have kids? Do you have to be home at a certain time?” is highly questionable. While you can pass off these questions in a conversational or light tone, the brutal truth is that it most likely means they aren't interested in hiring a mother.


It doesn't even matter if you're not the prime caregiver; the interviewer automatically sees you as the parent who runs home to take her children to karate or stays home when they get sick. But don’t assume that only a man would ask these questions. Female interviewers ask them too.

2. Your leadership skills are constantly questioned.

Have you ever given a performance review, reprimanded a subordinate, or provided suggestions to a team member only to hear complaints later that you were picking on or acting too aggressive with an employee?

The sad thing is that there are employees out who become agitated when criticized by a female, yet act decidedly less defensive when a male does the same.

RELATED: What Happened When I Stopped Ignoring Sexist Comments For A Week


3. Your responsibilities are taken away.

Are you asked to keep the meeting minutes or make team social arrangements because of your gender while possessing the same job title as men on the team? If you're in sales, have your responsibilities become less sales-oriented while the same cannot be said of the men on the sales team?

The outdated notion that women are better suited for administrative rather than negotiation-related tasks is discriminatory.


4. You're given last minute jobs or impossible deadlines.

Giving last minute jobs or impossible deadlines to a woman in an effort to prove that she cannot complete tasks due to child care issues is a form of discrimination.

5. People start interacting with you differently.

When male colleagues or superiors cut off your talking points on a regular basis, but don’t do the same to your male counterparts, gender issues may be at work. However, it is important to keep in mind that both sexes have different conversational styles. Women tend to be more collaborative by sharing experiences and asking questions, while men tend to give information rather than ask questions.

It's true that laws and company policies don’t stop people from acting on biases. But that doesn't mean that you can't do something about it.


Always speak up when you feel as if you're not being treated with the respect that you deserve. Watch out for the signs of subtle discrimination in the workplace so they may be addressed promptly.

RELATED: 5 Steps For Dealing With Bullies At Work

Suzanne Kleinberg is the author of Employee Rights & Employer Wrongs, and is the founder of Potential to Soar.