York students publish research on workplace gender discrimination

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A paper by undergraduate students in York University’s School of Human Resource Management, titled “Discrimination against women in the workplace: Review and recommendations for more inclusive organizations,” was published in the esteemed International Journal of Employment Studies. It examines the pervasive issue of discrimination against women in the workplace, addressing key areas such as gender bias, motherhood and pregnancy discrimination, and the gender pay gap.

Students Nicki Nguyen, Nishana Ganesh and Sarah Versteeg initially began their work in Professor Duygu Biricik Gulseren’s Occupational Health and Safety class, where one of their assignments was to review 10 recent research articles on a workplace health and safety topic of their interest. Gulseren was so impressed with their work, she invited the students to expand their review and collaborate with her.

Together, the team conducted a larger literature review on workplace discrimination against women, focusing on three common types: gender bias, pregnancy and motherhood discrimination, and pay gap. Investigating why, how and when discrimination against women occurs in the workplace, they found that the discrimination is directly related to factors like gender, pregnancy or motherhood status, and compensation in the workplace.

“This paper aims to provide a research synthesis and evidence-based recommendations for [human resources] leaders wishing to prevent gender discrimination demonstrated through gender bias, motherhood and pregnancy discrimination, and the gender pay gap,” says Gulseren. “It also serves as an up-to-date review for researchers interested in this topic.”

Drawing upon the latest evidence available, the paper offers practical recommendations for organizations striving to bolster their gender diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. It serves as a valuable resource for businesses aiming to foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

Under their professor’s guidance, the students have made a significant contribution to the field of workplace diversity and inclusion, an accomplishment most undergraduate students can’t claim. Gulseren is proud of her students’ impact.

“The paper is published in a peer-reviewed journal listed in the selective Australian Business Deans Council journal list along with papers from other, mostly PhD-level, researchers,” she explains. “This is a tremendous achievement for undergraduate students. They pushed the field forward by making a novel and meaningful contribution to the academic discourse on gender diversity in organizations.”