Gender refers to the state of being male or female, which is defined by the society. Societies assign different roles to male and female which they are expected to adhere to. According to DeLaat (2007), gender issues can be described as difficulties that people go through. This occurs when what people think they are or should be does not reflect what they feel inside themselves. The conflict is fueled by being restrained from performing a particular duty/function simply because they are male or female. This act leaves many depressed, feeling isolated, defective, confused, misunderstood, different and shameful.
Supervisors have got a challenging task of handling gender issues at workplace, which they must tackle in order to realize maximum productivity from workers. A supervisor should conduct an assessment on the employees operating culture. This would help in understanding the environment that is, whether they believe in equality or they are discriminative. Supervisor should avoid discrimination in workplace as much as possible. They should not divide jobs by setting rules and requirements that they know only one gender can meet. Dividing jobs in a workplace is a form of indirect discrimination. There should be no feeling among employees that one cannot do a certain job because he/she is a male or is a female. In order to get maximum cooperation from all employees, it is important for a supervisor and the management at large to foster equal treatment and preference to all workers.
Women in the past decades engaged in a successful struggle and managed to conquer several barriers in places of work. The anti-discrimination lawsuits carried by women resulted to equal pay with their men counterparts. Moreover, the number of women joining institutions of higher learning has increased over the years making them competent to later join the workforce. There have been organizations established for women empowerment, which have succeeded in creating awareness among women. “Various laws have been put in place to monitor discrimination and harassment” (Cohn, 2000). This has encouraged more women to join the workforce after being promised a friendly environment.
During recruitment it is important for a human resource manager to set clear requirements and specifications in relation to the job position. These requirements help in attracting the right potential applicants from whom the best in terms of qualification is selected. Requirements of education and experience are important as they ensure that only competent and skilled applicants are selected. However, this is unethical if the requirements are based on discrimination in terms of religion, race, color or sex. They should be standard and equally apply to the interest of all the applicants regardless of their origin. Roberts (1997) advised that selection should be fair and based on merit by choosing only those who meet the set standards without discrimination.
Department of human resource should in future set minimum requirements based on merit and job performance. These should not be controlled by forces such as origin, which might result to a low qualified person securing a job or promotion at the expense of a qualified person. According to Smith (2008), tests should be done to measure the best person for the job in terms of performance, which is contrary to the past method where tests were designed to keep some people off on the grounds of origin, race, color and sex.
Sexual harassment is the uncalled for sexual advances which involve demand for sexual favors as well as other verbal behaviors of sexual nature. Boland (2005), argued that sexual harassment can be portrayed when a manager demand for favors in return for a job vacancy, demeaning comments about female customers by office clerks, employees telling explicit sexual jokes to their supervisors, co-workers referring to each other in sexism terms or even when employees send e-mails to their superiors containing sexual language.
If one becomes a victim of sexual harassment in the course of duty, it is important to make the subject understand that the action is not welcomed. It is also advisable to document everything before reporting the harassment incidents to the management. If the management is the cause, one should go ahead and report to the senior most authorities or seek legal actions.