Sexism is and has virtually forever been, a glaring issue in all areas of the work environment – from recruiting and hiring all the way through invariable work interactions. While the proper “cure” for sexism may elude some employers, we know what absolutely DOESN’T work: reverse sexism.
Let’s get a bit of a disclaimer out of the way: The term “reverse sexism” is often used to insinuate the notion that men are victims of gender-based discrimination on the same level as women – as if the current social and political environments could ever support such a thing.
The idea of a male facing even a fraction of the societal limitations and microaggressions with which the average woman has to contend is cry-yourself-to-sleep laughable, so to apply any notion of the same level of discrimination in reverse has no merit whatsoever.
The entire point of rebelling against sexism is not – and should never be – that current sexist practices should be applied to men in addition to women; perhaps surprisingly, the opposite holds true: that women should be treated with the inherent respect and financial support that most men in the workplace enjoy.
See, practicing any kind of discrimination – however small in scale – against any group of people only helps to perpetuate discrimination in general. Refusing to hire men because you’re trying to avoid sexism toward women may seem like a good idea on paper, but it’s really just enforcing the notion that sexism is okay in certain contexts when that just isn’t the case.
Are you with me so far? Good, because it seems that virtually innumerable companies are missing the mark: Google’s solution for the wage gap is to underpay men, and Bumble implements a women-only hiring environment (though this has since been expanded to utilize more inclusive filters). Again, the idea behind this may have initially come from a good place, but the driving principles cause the execution to fall flat when held up against ACTUAL sexism-free practices.
Here’s a thought: Instead of treating your male employees with less respect in order to match your behavior to all genders across the board, or refusing to hire a gender outright, try treating all of your employees (regardless of gender) the same. It’s a little-known tactic known as common decency, and guess what? Doing so is not the least bit sexist.