How Can Women Address Discrimination in the Workplace?

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How does a woman respectfully point out discrimination without it being viewed as a potential legal threat or being blackballed in the work place? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Sali Christeson, Co-Founder and CEO at Argent, on Quora:

Launching Argent has given us exposure to a variety of industries, which all share some common themes with regard to the challenges women are facing. Exclusion from informal networking opportunities, pay inequality and a lack of diversity at the top for the most part have been consistent. There are also day to day subtleties and biases women are forced to endure, which include sexual harassment, requests to do menial tasks and numerous double standards.

In my opinion, the biggest issue is that women are not keeping up with men in terms of career advancement and the resulting pay increases by no fault of their own. For example, a number of contacts who are taking maternity leave are not being considered for promotions at a critical juncture in their careers though they are still employed with their companies. Once women are held back, catch up is nearly impossible.

Every stakeholder needs to participate in preventing this from continuing to happen. I always make a point to communicate bias as I see it, which is something I started doing at Cisco with my manager. It was one of the healthiest relationships that I’ve experienced, as I trusted him enough to highlight his unconscious biases and he changed his behavior and supported me through the challenges I experienced being on a predominantly male team. My goal is to identify unfair treatment as it happens. To remain silent is not an option as I want to see a shift and break barriers for future female leaders.

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