Hidden workplace sexism is the part of the work and culture of an organisation. It is visible in the decisions and the lingo yet hidden in the plain sight. Hidden workplace sexism which is also called occupational stereotypes which affects the women of the office in the most devastating way. The impact of sexism in the workplace is huge when it happens with the employees who have just started their career. We men always think we don’t do it but frankly it is there in the plain sight and unknowingly sometimes commits gender biasing mistakes.

Mostly, women are the victim of hidden workplace sexism. They have to deal with the stereotyping throughout their careers. We should be consciously unbiased initially and in the longer run, our workplace will be a more competitive and healthy environment for the women workforce.


By the definition, According to Wikipedia, hidden workplace sexism or occupational sexism or employment sexism is discrimination based on a person’s sex that occurs in a place of employment. The stereotyping of the work attitude and behaviour against gender is also a part of the hidden workplace sexism. 

Hidden workplace sexism is the hindrance in the career of the most women but also forces them to accept these pre assumed notions which unknowingly downloaded to the next generation of the employees.

We will discuss more about the stereotyping aspects of hidden workplace sexism. These stereotypes are always hiding here and there. If we are able to find and we have the intent, we can easily eradicate occupational stereotypes from our organisation.

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Gendered hiring:

If I say receptionist and field marketing job, you will think of a woman for the former and man for the latter position. Because of occupation stereotypes and hidden workplace sexism, we always associate a particular job with gender. As discussed before, some jobs are made keeping gender in mind. Gendered roles are the product of the prejudices which cause occupational stereotypes. 

For some roles, organizations simply don’t hire women. They assumed that women are suitable for some jobs. The organizations should forward to rectify this because this can be changed only by them. They can collectively change such gender based hiring and gendered roles.

Wage and Financial Inequality:

Wherever you go in the world, wages discrimination is clear when considering the same role for men and women. Women are offered considerably less salary for the same job and the same role. This happens in almost all the industries. Organisation to who give money on credit (personal loans), they do not lend the same amount of money to women as they give to men. 


I do not know why but few of us think women are difficult to train. People think women are difficult trainees when taking professional training. With my perceptive, women are better at adapting and grasping if given a conducive environment. Trainability is for both men and women but depends upon the skills already present in the person whom you want to give the training. This hidden workplace sexism is bad for making productive employees for the organisation. 

Performance Review: 

Women are subjected to harsh and critical feedback in their performance review. They do not get any leniency based on their positive traits and talent which their male counterparts always enjoy. Performance review of most women depends upon their manager “see” them. They have to always be conscious when performing in the office. Their mistakes are considered as blunders which are accompanied by gender-based slurs. 


Organisation generally reserves promotions for male counterparts. They consider women as employees with no requirement of career and financial growth. They think women are less career oriented and do not seek for promotion and are happy in their current positions. This hidden workplace sexism demotivates women more than anything and sometimes becomes a reason for changing the employer.


If the organisation looks for mentors, they simply neglect women for some unknown reasons. Women are considered mentors only for women employees. A strict female manager in the office is taken as a negative badge but doesn’t go the same for strict male managers.


The tasks which are considered as important for projects, processes or business are generally gifted to men. The accountability for women lies with the support function most of the time. They are given work which is less important. This is the part of hidden workplace sexism which is generally ignored.

Strategic Involvement: 

Whenever there is a meeting or discussions, the voice of women is not heard just for the sake of hearing. Considering their opinion is altogether a different paradigm. They think that strategic decision making is only a man’s job. 

This is absolutely wrong perceptive. Women are emotionally stronger and more intelligent than men on any given day. Their perceptive is as important as others. They have different ways to see things which can be advantageous in some situations.

Glass Ceiling Effect:

You will not see many women in prominent positions in the business world. The companies which you think are more favourable for women, also can not promote women as they market. You count the women CEOs on finger if you consider Fortune 500 companies.

In India, women are almost 50% of the population but women own less than 5% of the business. This is because of the restrictive approach of the society and the work culture. The financial companies do not lend. In terms of entrepreneurship as an occupation, 7% of total entrepreneurs in India are women.

Different Expectation:

We set different expectations from men and women which further creates a rift and promotes hidden workplace sexism. We expect men to be more loyal and career oriented. Organisation keep the maternity period of women in mind when hiring, promoting or giving major tasks and assignments. 

Solutions to Hidden workplace sexism

Our workplace is full of pre assumed notions which is the prime culprit of the occupational stereotypes. For women, they have to handle a lot of things apart from competition based on talent and skill. They are considered weak and less a competitor by their male counterparts. The only solution to this is the replacement of prejudice with the parameter of talent and skill. Keeping a demotivated workforce is a clear disadvantage of the organisation.

Talent vs Prejudice

Half is Full

When organisations consider only talent between men and women, this will bring both gender to the same level of field. Women workforce should be given the same advantage as men. 


There are a lot of companies who have dropped this hidden workplace sexism or occupational stereotypes from their workplace. They now know what their women workforce was suffering from for so many years. Let us hope more and more companies adopt the same positive attitude.

If you have suffered any occupational stereotype in your career, please share your story at halfisfull08@gmail.com.
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