About Sexual Harassment against Women in the Workplace

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Sexual abuse of female workers is a subject that has received a lot of coverage in the modern world. Women are victims of such abuse because, more frequently than not, they lack control. A vulnerable number of women today belong to the working class, contrary to traditional beliefs that they were not entitled to any organized jobs. However, power dynamics and male domination are also prevalent forms of sexual assault in the workplace. According to studies, women are the most likely to be vulnerable and to have a high level of vulnerability. As a result, the aim of this study is to determine whether or not there is an uptick in sexual violence against women in the majority of workplaces. In essence, sexual harassment is a common practice in the workplace perpetrated against women. Solving this issue will require identification of factors that promote male dominance and female submission in many organizations.

Definition of Key Terms

Sexual harassment is the unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors or any other verbal or physical suggestion or conduct of sexual nature. In a workplace setting, such behaviors are outlined to be of serious effect on the individual’s performance, intimidating or offensive. In some cases, the victim might consent to the conduct and participate actively however objectionable and offensive it is (Hamstra, 2017). To this effect, a sexual conduct is only unwelcome and can be assumed harassing when the person subjected to it considers the same as unwanted. Then, sex discrimination is the prejudice based on one’s gender or sex. Sexism could affect both sexes, but girls and women are mostly victims.

Purpose

This research is aimed at finding out the factors which lead to female sexual harassment and the concerns therein. This paper as well provide some recommended solutions to the issue.

Research questions

What class of women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment?

How does sexual harassment affect women in their work environment?

How does the setting of the work environment predispose one to sexual harassment?

Scope of the Issue

Various laws have been enacted to protect women from sexual harassment at their places of work in countries such as India where the situation is common. What normally brings about the problem of female sexual harassment at workplace is the assumption that the female sex is inferior (Barton et al. 2015). Traditionally, women have been placed in lower ranking positions while being at the mercy of their men counterparts. Typically, the females have to submit to the males owing to the fact about male dominance.

The traditional society made the male species at the top to be the provider for the females. The woman of the traditional world was meant to do household chores. Therefore, she lacked the chance to compete with men. The translations of this beliefs and behaviors to the current society are that women compete with men (Sadruddin, 2013). For this reason, they have been subjected to various forms of discrimination. To say, for promotional purposes or to be hired, about sixty percent of women have encountered the various forms of sexual harassment.

The society always places women at the low position compared to men. In fact, most of the victimized women are always afraid of speaking up. Majority of them who suffer sexual harassment remain silent. In countries such as Pakistan, the culture of women to remain quiet even when mistreated has been cultivated because whenever they talk, their intentions are questioned. In the end, the victim suffers both sexual and social harassment. In most cases, female victims of sexual harassment whenever they voice their concerns they are always dismissed. Such behaviors have been extended to the workplace environment.

Notably, women who object sexual harassment in the workplace encounter humiliation, intimidation and could lose their jobs. Besides, most of the employers and their senior managers use their positions to harass the women sexually. Some of the method commonly used to force them into having sexual relationships include threats and intimidation. Therefore, this study is effective in identifying different forms of sexual harassment, how they affect women’s performance in the workplace and possible solutions.

Literature Review

Many scholars have discussed the issue of sexual harassment and violence against women. For instance, Ali et al. (2015) note that sexual harassment in Sri Lanka is a criminal offense. The penal laws in the country are elaborate in the essence that they can help in preventing and dealing with the cases and punish the perpetrators. The University of Minnesota outlined a study, which shows that female supervisors are the primary targets of sexual harassment. The study done by the University of Minnesota followed one thousand men and women right from ninth grade to their thirtieth birthday. The researchers found out that gays, women, and men with female characteristics were more likely to be harassed. Moreover, the study found out that female bosses and those in managerial positions were more likely to be victims of sexual harassment compared to their counterparts in lower positions.

Typically, no single working environment is immune to sexual harassment. Thus to say, sexually charged work environments – those common with frequent sexual jokes, sexually suggestive posters and those which allow explicit online materials, have impacts on how the female employees are viewed (Wei-Bin, 2017). A good example is an office where sexual obscenities are common; women are about three times more likely to be sexually harassed. Unfortunately, many people view female sexual harassment at workplace as a common happening. Women deserve an equal chance in the society with utmost fairness (Latcheva, 2017).

Hypotheses

Women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment in their workplace especially when they are in managerial positions.

Women encounter harassment from their male workmates and their bosses as well.

The performance of women in their workplace is affected negatively by sexual harassment.

Research Design

This study will be primarily a quasi-experiment. It will aim at establishing the relationship between women holding positions at their respective workplaces and the likelihood of them encountering sexual harassment. Randomly, two hundred adult females and two hundred adult working males will be selected to participate in this study. The inclusion criteria will be women who have had prior experiences of sexual harassment. The research will entail collection of quantitative and qualitative data through interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Some of the questions, which will guide the research, include the following.

How many are women out of ten likely to face sexual harassment?

What factors leading to harassment of women at their working places?

Which workplace policies can help to curb the behavior?

The most likely obstacle in this study is the unwillingness of the subjects to provide accurate information. Lack of precise information and sufficient cooperation will translate to inaccurate inferences about the issue at hand. The implication, therefore, will lack practical relations and will not present the true form of matters as they are. Then quantitative data will be analyzed using methods such as exploratory data analysis and general linear models. Scatter plots and correlation will as well be applied in data analysis. In comparisons, the quantitative data will analyze using content analysis and narrative analysis.

Challenges and limitations

Some of the problems and limitations likely to affect the research is the unwillingness of the participants to disclose accurate information thus affecting the overall research. Again, inaccuracy of the research data might make it difficult to translate the same into practical aspects. The research subjects as well behave in a manner not natural enough due to being subject of study. This will in turn affect the accuracy of information collected.

Recommendations

Employment policies do apply to every individual in the work environment. To this end, therefore, legislative laws should be designed to criminalize the female sexual harassment at workplace. The move will curb the rapidly increasing cases of sexual harassment. In countries such as Sri Lanka, female prejudices, which are always the leading cause of female sexual harassment, have reduced considerably due to the strict legislative laws (Fidan et al. 2016).

Conclusion

The issue about female sexual harassment at workplace is a matter of concern and starts with employers. Women deserve a fair chance at their job areas and for them to perform better; prejudices, which eventually culminate into sexual harassment, should be curbed at the initial stages. This requires combined efforts of the stakeholders who are supposed to ensure and safeguard the rights of women. If by any chance, one is subjected to sexual harassment or sex discrimination, an attorney can be of help in protecting their rights (Huber & O’Rourke, 2017). An attorney is capable of explaining the rights of individual and necessary steps to end harassment can be instituted.

References

Ali, F., & Kramar, R. (2015). An exploratory study of sexual harassment in Pakistani organizations. Asia Pacific Journal Of Management, 32(1), 229-249. doi:10.1007/s10490-014-9380-1

Barton, D., Devillard, S., & Hazlewood, J. (2015). Gender equality: Taking stock of where we are. Mckinsey Quarterly, (4), 86-89.

Fidan, D., Boztoprak, H., Usta, T., Sari, B., & Guzey, Y. (2016). The Effects of Discrimination against Women in Places of Business: A Report on the Tourism Industry. Review Of Business, 37(1), 56-71.

Graham, M. E., Belliveau, M. A., & Hotchkiss, J. L. (2017). The View At The Top Or Signing At The Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility And Women’s Representation In Management. Ilr Review, 70(1), 223-258. Doi:10.1177/0019793916668879

Hamstra, M. (2017). Enlisting employees to help prevent sexual harassment. Restaurant Hospitality Exclusive Insight, 2.

Huber, C., & O’Rourke, S. (2017). How To Accelerate Gender Diversity On Boards. Mckinsey Quarterly, (1), 116-120.

Latcheva, R. (2017). Sexual Harassment in the European Union: A Pervasive but Still Hidden Form of Gender-Based Violence. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 32(12), 1821-1852.

Sadruddin, M. M. (2013). Sexual Harassment at Workplace in Pakistan- Issues and Remedies about the Global Issue at Managerial Sector. Journal Of Managerial Sciences, 7(1), 113-125.

Taylor, M. S., & Ilgen, D. R. (1981). Sex Discrimination Against Women In Initial Placement Decision: A Laboratory Investigation. Academy Of Management Journal, 24(4), 859-865. doi:10.2307/256182

Wei-Bin, Z. (2017). Job Discrimination Against Women And Endogenous Population Change In A Generalized Solow Growth Model. USV Annals Of Economics & Public Administration, 17(1), 6-20.

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