The fight for gender equality in the workplace has been a long standing battle, but it is essential to recognize that gender is not the sole factor contributing to pay disparities. Another significant dimension of inequality that often remains hidden is the impact of sexuality on the gender pay gap. Here, I’ll lay out the intersectionality of sexuality and gender concerning wage discrepancies, examining the underlying causes and proposing measures to address this hidden disparity.
Understanding the intersectionality
It is essential to establish how intersectionality plays a role in the gender pay gap. Intersectionality recognizes that individuals may face multiple forms of discrimination and oppression due to the combination of their gender, sexuality, race, and other identities. Within the context of the gender pay gap, women and LGBTQ+ individuals experience unique challenges that compound the wage disparity they encounter. Sexual orientation biases and discrimination intersect with gender biases, resulting in a complex interplay that further worsens pay discrepancies.
Sexuality influencing the gender pay gap
Women and LGBTQ+ individuals often face discrimination and bias in the workplace, affecting their hiring, promotion opportunities, and salary negotiations. Prejudices rooted in heteronormative and gendered expectations contribute to lower pay, particularly to those who do not conform to societal gender norms.
Similar to the gender pay gap, occupational segregation based on sexuality exists. LGBTQ+ individuals and even women are often steered towards certain industries or professions due to biases and stereotypes, resulting in limited access to higher-paying jobs and further widening the pay gap.
In many jurisdictions, laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from workplace discrimination are inadequate or nonexistent. This lack of legal safeguards leaves LGBTQ+ employees vulnerable to discriminatory practices, including pay disparities based on their sexuality.
What can be done?
Employers should conduct regular pay equity assessments to identify and address any disparities based on sexuality within their organizations. By proactively reviewing compensation practices, companies can rectify any biases that may exist and ensure equal pay for equal work. Moreover, it is up to activists and policymakers to advocate for comprehensive legal protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
What you can do is raise awareness about such hidden disparities in the modern day. Raising awareness is crucial in promoting change and advocating for equality.
The gender pay gap is a multifaceted issue that is not solely driven by gender but also intersects with sexuality. Women and LGBTQ+ individuals often face unique challenges and recognizing this hidden disparity is essential. By fostering inclusive work environments, conducting pay equity assessments, and advocating for legal reforms, we can take significant steps toward closing the gender pay gap due to sexuality.