Group Discussion Guide: Gender in the Workplace

Lesson 3 — Challenges Women Face

  1. Unconscious discrimination is a major challenge women face in the workplace, and it sometimes stemmed from unbiblical thinking about the relationship between men and women. In Romans 12:2, Paul urges us to be transformed by the “renewing of your mind.” Part of this renewal entails learning to discipline our judgments about each other, including judgments on the basis of gender. What are some practices that you can implement to help counteract unconscious discrimination in the workplace?
     

  2. Whereas men are considered more driven and successful after they have children, women pay the so-called “mommy penalty” when kids enter the picture—salaries and performance reviews drop, even when, objectively speaking, women maintain the same standard of achievement at work.

    • Reflect on how being a father or a mother has impacted your professional life. How did your work experience change after children?

    • Why is it, generally speaking, that our workplaces sometimes fail to support women negotiating their jobs and their family commitments?

    • What are the family policies at your workplace? If you are in a position to shape policy, what can you do to create a culture that is “family friendly”?
       

  3. Denise argues that a root cause of the marginalization of women in the workplace is that women are often less certain than men about the value of their work.

    • What are some concrete and practical ways that we create equal value for the contributions women make in the places where we work?

    • Denise shows that women tend to have difficulty creating and maintaining professional networks. What are the reasons for this? What are some possible remedies to this problem?
       

  4. Denise illustrates that men and women have different fears around sexual harassment: women fear that they will not believed, for example, while men fear that they’ll be wrongly accused. This dynamic creates conditions of mistrust, which can create dysfunctional workplaces.

    • Take a moment to think critically about your workplace. Have you witnessed demeaning behavior against women? If so, how was it handled?

    • In what ways are women objectified in our culture? How are they objectified in our workplaces?

    • In 1 Peter 3:3–4, Peter argues that women have deep spiritual value beyond their appearance, which was a revolutionary thing to say in the ancient world. What are concrete ways that we can honor the women in our lives and workplaces for their intellect, their character, and their virtues?

 

  1. Denise argues that men sometimes devise well-meaning policies that actually function to hinder or disadvantage women in the workplace, such as the famous “Billy Graham Rule” (or, nowadays, the “Mike Pence Rule”). What are some creative ways to form a workplace where men and women can contribute equally and enjoy equal access to opportunity?