A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan demonstrates the shocking prevalence of abusive conduct directed at women in the workplace. One-third of the women surveyed who were between the ages of 18 and 34 reported being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. More than 2,000 female employees were surveyed. The results were broken down by age, field of employment and the education level of the employee harassed.
There are several important takeaways from the survey. First, sexual harassment is alive and well. Improvements in gender equality, incremental and insufficient on the whole, have not come close to solving this issue. Women are still regularly subjected to verbal harassment, unwanted touching and sexual advances, as well as lewd emails and texts. Second, the people doing the harassing are still primarily male. The majority of incidents of harassment were from male coworkers, though male clients and customers and male managers were responsible for a meaningful percentage of the harassing behavior. Third, sexual harassment is not widely reported. Less than one-third of the women surveyed indicated that they reported the offensive conduct. Of those who did report, only 15 percent felt that their report was dealt with fairly.
Sexual harassment can make work intolerable. Asserting your rights is not an overreaction to harassment. You should not be expected to endure persistent sexual harassment just to have a career. It is important to understand your rights and document the offensive behavior to improve your chances of having the matter addressed to your satisfaction. If you are being subjected to harassment at work, the law is on your side.
Source: The Huffington Post, “1 In 3 Women Has Been Sexually Harassed At Work, According To Survey,” by Alanna Vagianos, 19 February 2015