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OFFICE ROMANCE AND GENDER BIAS

One common scenario in today’s workplace is the issue of romance. Yes, office romance! The reason is simple; people spend a lot of time at work in close proximity which leaves room for open and vulnerable conversations. Co-workers invariably develop feelings and act upon attractions with such open and vulnerable conversations.

Despite this, society and even most organizations frown upon workplace romance. This is because of the possible conflict of interests between the couple and their organization. The need to avoid uncalled drama and foster professionalism are some of the reasons that have been cited against workplace romance. Most organizations have thought it pertinent to curb these occurrences by making company policies.

The No Date policy is one of such policies. Here, co-workers do not date or marry each other without facing dire consequences. Another such policy is the sort applied in Facebook and Google work environment. This policy curbs excessive workplace romance and sexual harassment. Here, a co-worker can only ask out a fellow co-worker once or desist if an ambiguous or negative response is gotten.

GENDER BIAS IN WORKPLACE ROMANCE

All is not as it seems in a workplace romance. Gender bias exists which often makes the situation a lot dicey for women. Unlike their male counterparts, societyssupposedly assumes women venture into office romance for ulterior motives. These motives range from exploiting sexuality for monetary gain, for preferential treatment, or for career advancement. For instance, the typical career woman who speedily advances in her career is thought to have a ‘godfather’ whom she sexually gratifies. This supposed godfather pays back by pulling strings for her career advancement. Of course, the fact that she may be working thrice as hard as her male counterparts may never be considered.

With such a warped mindset becoming the norm, one can easily imagine the societal consequences that exist for a woman who decides to engage in an office romance with her boss. She loses her career and faces ridicules but the list doesn’t end here. Exasperated by the unfairness of it all, Jane Hollman; the HR professional who has over 25 years experience in the corporate world exclaims, “I have seen plenty of office affairs between peers and between senior and junior staff. Not once have I seen the man’s reputation tarnished. It’s always the woman whose career and reputation suffer”.

In rare cases where the woman is the boss and engaging in a relationship with her employee, the situation isn’t much better. She is dominating and emasculating, so they say. As a result, society calls her derisive names like ‘Sugarmama’ or ‘Cougar’. The ridicule is majorly on her for upsetting the dating power balance.

CONCLUSION

With the numerous downs that office romance represents for females, it is needless to say that it isn’t what anybody should be encouraged to engage in. But if you are at the point where it seems you’d rather damn the consequences than give up your chance at love, then perhaps the article by Amy Gallo would help you know how to approach an office romance.

 

Read Also: Love and Career: Having It All.
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