I think that the previous thoughts were well articulated. The issue of gender discrimination reflects how the values of a democratic and pluralistic society can change over time. The issues of gender treatment in the workplace is one area where we have actually shown improvement. Contrary to the nostalgia of the "good old days," this would be one area where those in the past "got it wrong." This can be seen in the case of women in the workplace. When we examine how women in the workplace were treated as opposed to the modern setting, we can say that there has been evolution and improvement present. The concerns of women being in the workplace, being treated with equity, and ensuring that what is dictated legally is adhered to socially has been enhanced and improved over time. There still is bias and barriers present (Secretary of State Clinton's words still haunt us in that "There are 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling."), yet we can say that there has been significant improvement in this domain.
Discrimination of any type and in any form is wrong and should not be tolerated by anyone. Gender discrimination is showing favoritism or granting special work conditions based on whether someone is a man or woman. If we lived in a perfect world discrimination would not be an issue, that being said, we obviously do not live in a perfect world and even though we as a society have came a long way and have made great strides in this area, gender discrimination and other forms of discrimination are still ever present in the workplace.
Although gender discrimination can be seen in any field, it is commonly witnessed in trades and professions that have historically been dominated by one sex. Firefighters and paramedics are a good example. For years, these professions have been male dominated careers. Women argue that they can perform these jobs just as well as their male counterparts and that they should receive every benefit of the job. Unfortunately, some firefighting and paramedic agencies subscribe to the "good ol boy" theory of promotions and opportunity. The same thinking pervades some law enforcement agencies as well.
Managers should take specific steps to eliminate any possibility of gender discrimination, or any form of discrimination for that matter.
Discrimination at workplace on any ground is bad for the organization. In addition gender discrimination is illegal as per the laws in many countries. However, I believe that the call for gender equality at the workplace, is sometimes carried to levels that makes it counter protective.
There are physical and psychological differences in men and women which makes women in general better suited for some jobs while men are more suited for other jobs. For example, women, because of their physical size, particularly the size of their fingers, are more suitable for jobs involving assembly of small components. Similarly men may be better suited for jobs requiring higher levels of physical strength. Insisting on equal opportunity for men and women for all jobs without taking into consideration the special requirement of the job affected by gender difference can be counter productive.
But once a person is employed for a job, he or she mus receive equal treatment in terms of pay, benefits and opportunities for advancement, based on performance and capability. In situation like this discrimination based on gender is definitely unethical and counter productive.