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Workplace sexism impacts mental health, job satisfaction for women

A team of experts recently investigated how working in male-dominated industries may affect mental health and job satisfaction among female employees. The researchers found that sexism on the job site was linked to a lower sense of belonging at work, poorer mental health, and lower job satisfaction.

The analysis was focused on nearly 200 women from a large Australian trade union which mostly represented male-dominated jobs.

The study revealed that organizational sexism and interpersonal sexism were both associated with a poorer sense of belonging in the industry, which was found to have a negative impact on mental health. A lack of belonging and feelings of inferiority also explained the negative effect of organizational sexism on job satisfaction.

The study findings lend support to a theoretical model in which workplace sexism leads to a reduced sense of belonging because it represents a form of bullying, rejection, and ostracism by men against their female co-workers. A lack of belonging, in turn, has a negative influence on women’s mental health and job satisfaction because it causes feelings of alienation and loneliness.

Study co-author Dr. Mark Rubin is a social psychologist and an associate professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

“Strategies that integrate women more thoroughly into male-dominated industries and give them a better sense of belonging may help to increase their mental health and job satisfaction,” said Dr. Rubin. “However, we also need better strategies to reduce sexism in the workplace if we are to tackle this problem at its root.”

The study is published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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