A recent survey of more than 3,000 engineers found that 55% of women feel they are expected to do more office housework than their male counterparts, and many believe it’s a significant reason why some women leave companies.

Office housework includes menial tasks, such as cleaning office dishes or microwaves, pouring water for everyone at meetings, or taking notes and buying birthday cards for colleagues. Most women said their managers expected them to perform these duties, and those who refused were considered “difficult.”

Male co-workers can help break gender stereotypes

Women who responded to the survey said they also feel like they are responsible for easing workplace tensions among co-workers. Some said they were even afraid to use exclamation marks in emails to avoid the risk of miscommunication. Many women are standing up to this form of workplace discrimination, while others urge male workers to become allies by:

  • Not ignoring signs of workplace bias
  • Speaking up when you see signs of unequal treatment
  • Asking a female counterpart about her workplace experience, listening to her answers and showing empathy for her situation
  • Seeking out a female mentor in the company who you can learn from, as many women feel disrespected in a company’s hierarchy

Battling gender discrimination in the workplace

Researchers say managers are more likely to ask women to do menial tasks in the office, while some women even volunteer fearing they will face repercussions if they aren’t seen as a team player. By contrast, male workers are asked less often and don’t face any consequences when they say no. If you are the target of workplace discrimination based on your gender, an experienced employment law attorney here in California will defend your rights and can file a discrimination claim on your behalf.