How To Handle Gender Equality Dispute Between Team Members

It is surprising, even disappointing and embarrassing that we still have to talk about gender equality to this day. Most people refuse to acknowledge that it is even there or at least has little to do with them. But think about this: when was the last time you said or heard someone say a male boss is more efficient and that a woman is too emotional, neat but emotional? In your last team building activity, did you want your leader to be a guy or a girl? There are strong economic arguments, initiatives, and even laws for gender equality but sadly, stereotypes still get in the way.

gender equalityIn businesses like BPO industries where “teams” are crucial to success and productivity, closing gender gaps is a chief concern. But how many would actually confess to aggravating gender exclusion? Men are often unaware that they are excluding and discriminating women and that is the greatest challenge. In a survey by Elle Magazine and Center for American Progress, a whopping 81% of men agree to public policies against gender inequality but in the same breath admit that being a man guarantees a higher salary and fewer criticisms.

In the same survey, only 28% of women admitted to experiencing discrimination in the workplace.  However, 31% feel they will be paid better if they were male, 53% never asked for a raise, and 34% of women believe they are not “tough enough” to hold top positions. Truly, gender issues are tricky and leave most blindsided.  But what is clear is how the promotion of gender equality boosts team performance, encourage harmony, improve productivity, and even increase profits. Let us zero in on the case of call center agents and how gender disputes must be handled for the sake of the “team.”

It’s always ability over gender

When it comes to assigning a task, it’s never one size fits all. There is always that someone who is best for the job. Always entrust a responsibility based on ability and never on gender. In the event that a team member raises the “he’s a guy that’s why he got it” reaction, the employer or team leader will always have a solid answer in “ability and performance.”

When opportunities knock, ask everyone to respond

Disputes are often a result of competition. Make competition healthier, friendlier, and on equal-footing by encouraging everyone, regardless of gender, to take a stab at a promotion or an opportunity. Avoid gender disputes by giving everyone a fair chance and making them realize that everyone is as qualified as any other.

Family talk is off-limits

“You’re good but you are a mom.”

That is definitely not the way to manage gender disputes among team members. A research by Bentley University revealed that 53% of respondents and 64% of recruiters believe that family and relationships hold women back in achieving so much more in the workplace. A significant number of call center agents are moms, wives, and breadwinners and bringing family matters into the picture can only make disputes more severe. On the other hand, creating a work-life balance into the workplace is a step closer to achieving gender equality.

Don’t break the “roles”

A team makes perfect sense if roles are clearly identified. Again, roles must be based on skills and ability. The way to handle arguments and disputes is by making clear to everyone their roles and what is expected of them. Gender clashes have no place in a team with members that have a clear sense of purpose.

Ever thought of male mentorship?

Gender inequality must not be seen as a “women’s problem” but of everyone’s. Make the men in the team recognize their stake in closing the gender gap. As the gender that is pre-dominantly more powerful in the workplace, men can make immediate and significant impact. Urge male managers and executives to champion equality and use their influence.

Get some help

Gender has been an institutional challenge for decades prompting researches and studies globally. Resolving disputes will be easier and possibly more effective if professionals like social scientists who have been studying this for so long will come at the helm. Getting the help and expertise of social scientists can lead to the establishment diversity training programs. Social scientists can review gender policies as well as educate managers and team members on how to identify gender patterns at work and how to negotiate them.

It’s okay to speak up

Encourage team members in dispute to speak up. Confronting issues like salary, schedule, accountability and promotions are common among call center agents. These are also often gender-related, which are also the perfect recipe for disaster in the workplace. Give everyone the chance to speak up and encourage them to do so. And most of all, listen to what they have to say.

Teach them to “man up”

As much as team members are allowed to speak up, they must also be taught to “man up” and take responsibility. No dispute will be truly resolved without accountability, our sense of closure. Women should not be given extra favors just because they are women. That in itself is showing that women are soft and weak. In the same way, men should not be expected to carry the burden just because they are men. Accountability, as much as credit, must be given where it is due.

“You are a part of this team”

Regardless of gender, everyone must be reminded that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. In resolving gender-related problems, team members must be reminded of the team’s goal, its direction, and why everyone’s there in the first place.

Women are in the strongest position they have ever been but we’re not there yet. Gender equality is a tired topic for some but no, old-fashioned chivalry is not enough. Managers and team leaders will still have to deal with gender-related disputes here and there and the best way to handle it is still fairness and well, as tired as it may be, believing in equality and social justice.

Category: Leadership


About the Author: Jona Jone

Jona Jone was a mortgage originator in Philadelphia, PA and is now a Business and Property Specialist. She writes about real estate investment, business, parenting and

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  1. Lauren

    June 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing how to handle gender equality dispute between team members. Like you said, it’s hard to believe that this still happens, but it definitely still occurs in some workplaces today.

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