Throughout most recorded human history, women have endured limitations not applied to their male counterparts. It is only been a few decades since women in the United States first obtained the right at the federal level to have their own banking accounts and credit scores separate from their husbands and fathers. Although the law has changed, women still have a long way to go to end sex discrimination.
When it comes to professional environments, women often still face an uphill battle. Especially in blue-collar professions, women are left at a marked disadvantage when their employer applies a one-size-fits-all approach to job responsibilities, training or equipment.
Men are the default or standard used for most workplace practices
There’s a reason that people say it is a man’s world. Everything from the way companies structure the workweek to the safety gear that they provide employees favors men. Women are often at a disadvantage unless there is a secondary version of the equipment available designed specifically to protect them.
Basic safety restraints in motor vehicles and other devices, like harnesses, even if marketed as unisex, have design characteristics based on the average size and anatomy of a man. What your employer thinks you should be physically capable of doing may be unfair if they use a male standard for lifting, for example.
Recognizing that there are biological differences between your body and the body of your male co-workers, like smaller lungs and less dense bones, can help you fight back when employment practices effectively discriminate against you for having female anatomy. Recognizing subtle forms of sex discrimination at work can help you fight back in stay safer on the job.