The 18 Most Common Types of Discrimination

There are many Types of discrimination , Among the most common are the racism , Xenophobia, Homophobia Or the different forms of machismo.

Discrimination is the act of making a distinction between human beings or social groups, either by action or omission with derogatory, exclusive or negative meaning and that leads to inequality of opportunities. It is an act of abuse and injustice that violates the right to equality.

Discrimination against women in the workplace is one of the most common types of discrimination.

It is the behavioral expression of a prejudice and it is given mainly by the intolerance and the rejection of certain people to the diversity. We are all different, but we are all human beings who are born free and equal in dignity and rights and, therefore, with the same opportunities.

In order to safeguard this equality, freedom and dignity of persons, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created, a historical document drawn up and endorsed by all regions of the world, proclaimed in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. This document speaks of the"human family"is the duty of every nation to enforce and defend any individual who feels violated these rights.

Man (understood as the whole human race) is a social being that requires interaction with other human beings to become a society; But at the same time it possesses an individuality that distinguishes it from others and makes it a unique and unrepeatable being. To define these individual characteristics as differences that put it above or below others is to discriminate.

Often, the act of discriminating is due to excessive ethnocentrism, which is the act of seeing and analyzing the world according to the parameters of one's own culture and, consequently, to consider as inferior everything that is different from one's own. You may also want to see the 18 types of racism in the world .

The most frequent types of discrimination

There are many types of discrimination. Although some may look similar, they have their differences. Many types of discrimination often overlap when making a value judgment towards a person or group of people.


Manifestation against racism.

It considers some human groups inferior to others because of their ethnic origin. The most common case is racism against the black race, but it also extends to other races such as indigenous, Asian, etc.

2- Discrimination by nationality or ethnic origin

More commonly called xenophobia, it is nothing more than the rejection or hostility towards the foreigner by the simple fact of being it, beyond the race or the color of skin.

This hostility often leads to generalized value judgments against a gentilicio such as:"all Galicians are brutals","all Colombians are drug traffickers", etc. This also applies to ethnic groups, indigenous communities and / or indigenous peoples.

3- Discrimination based on sexual orientation

The 18 Most Common Types of Discrimination

Homophobia is a term that explains the aversion to homosexuals, whether these men or women, and ultimately also includes transsexuals, bisexuals, metrosexuals and anyone who has attitudes or ways that, according to the discriminator, are not according to their gender .

4 - Discrimination by gender

It is the rejection of a person for the simple fact of being a man or a woman, although this attitude is mostly associated with the rejection of women as weak or inferior to men.

This hostility arises mainly from the patriarchal and macho culture of most Western societies that for centuries have placed women in a secondary and basically reproductive role. It is one of the discriminations against which we fight tirelessly around the world with very subtle but encouraging changes.

5- Discrimination against women at work

The woman has been discriminated against for the simple fact of being a woman for centuries. But since the last decades, when the female sex began to leave their homes to enter the formal labor camp, brought with it another type of discrimination more particular.

In other words, the widespread exclusion of women was transferred to the labor market, giving them lower-level positions than men or, in any case, the same positions with lower wages. Women have fewer opportunities to get jobs, especially in middle and high positions.

6- Maternity Discrimination

Single mother looking for work while her daughter observes her.

The main cause why some companies avoid hiring women and prefer to hold those positions with men is because of the wonderful ability of women to bring life to the world.

It is considered that this can lead to greater absenteeism and a decrease in work capacity, resulting in a decrease in production. In addition, most countries have laws that give leave to mothers after childbirth, leading to absenteeism that must be covered, leading to higher wage costs.

7- Discrimination by age

They discriminate or stereotype the individual based on their age, whether they are older adults, children or adolescents. In Western societies there is an exacerbated cult of youth, despising or minimizing the old, without considering that the experience of the years is an invaluable capital.

In most cases of discrimination against older adults, there is often a very common type of discrimination, which is discrimination at work.

8- Discrimination in the workplace

Even in societies that regularly proclaim and practice equal opportunities, members of discriminated groups are far from enjoying equal conditions in the workplace.

Within this scope many types of discrimination are practiced, making a sort of representation on the scale of the general situation of society.

Discrimination on the basis of race, sex (see Discrimination against women at work) and by age can be found: those over 50 are considered to be old and their chances of finding a job are diminished. The current tendency is to hire young people who can be"molded"to the taste and requirement of the companies.

However, there is also discrimination against young people who, having no experience, are at a dead end: they ask for previous experience, but how to acquire it if they do not hire them?

9- Wage Discrimination

Companies believe that one person should not win the same as another doing the same job, because of his status as a woman, his race, etc. Although both have the same physical or intellectual capacity to perform it and for this reason two people with the same position can receive different salary.

10- Discrimination by physical appearance

phrases for tattoos

Obese, albinos, people with marks or scars, tattoos or perforations on the skin, etc. Are usually rejected a priori.

11- Discrimination due to disability or illness

The twentieth century brought with it a modern form of disease discrimination: HIV / AIDS has relegated people suffering from this disease to a corner. At first it was by disinformation and ignorance, then by simple mistrust.

People with other diseases such as Down syndrome, autism, Asperger syndrome, cerebral palsy or physically disabled, continue to be marginalized.

12- Religious Discrimination

Orthodox Jews walking

Throughout history has been seen how, in the name of some God, have been fought the most bloody battles. This happens today with as much or more vigor as before, where a person can be rejected and even stigmatized by his religious beliefs And the customs that derive from them.

13- Ideological Discrimination

It is perhaps, along with religious discrimination, the most widespread and harmful form of discrimination today. It has to do with the rejection of people or groups of people by the mere fact of thinking differently, of having political positions or philosophical convictions different or adverse to those of the other.

14- Linguistic discrimination

An individual or social group is rejected for its language, accent or dialect. It is common for a foreigner to be mocked by his pronunciation.

In the workplace, an employer can not base his decision not to hire a person for his foreign accent, unless it interferes with the performance of his position.

15- Cultural Discrimination

The 18 Most Common Types of Discrimination

It is often in conjunction with racial or ethnic discrimination caused by ethnocentrism. Its most common expression is the rejection of indigenous communities, which become Minority groups . Their dress, language and their ancestral practices that can not be understood or respected as part of their ancestral culture.

16- Economic discrimination

It differentiates between people by the amount of money or assets they possess. This usually results in discrimination by social class.

17- Discrimination by social class

It marginalizes certain individuals from the benefits they could have within society. Both economic and social discrimination comes from inequality in income or education opportunities. The most degrading form of discrimination for these reasons is slavery.

18- Discrimination in school socialization

The 18 Most Common Types of Discrimination 1

As school is the seedbed of the adults of the future, it is worrying that in recent times education will not be able to contribute to overcoming inequalities or reducing the social gap.

Discrimination in schools is increasing, something that has recently been called" Bullying "And has to do with the physical or psychological abuse of which some boys in the school are victim on the part of their peers by the fact of being"different"to what the school society considers accepted, interesting or amusing.

19- Discrimination by laterality

It is the discrimination that exists between right-handed and left-handed. For centuries the lefties have been seen with rarity and have been awarded demonic characteristics.


  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Recovered from
  2. Tenjo Jaime and Herrera Paula (2009) Two Essays on Discrimination: Wage discrimination and discrimination in access to employment by ethnic origin and by gender. Department of Economics, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Bogota Colombia.
  3. I took Manuela (2003). Analysis of the concepts of discrimination and equality at work. International Labor Review Vol 122. Retrieved from
  4. Actis Eugenio and Atucha Ana J (2003). Wage gaps: Discrimination or differences in productivity. Retrieved from
  5. White G. Rosa (2006). Equity and social inclusion: one of the challenges of education and today's school. Ibero-American Research Network on School Change and Effectiveness (RINACE). Recovered from

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