Sexism at work
Violating sexist expectations can lead to sexual harassment
Large numbers of women in positions of authority report sexual harassment. In the EU, 75 % of women in top management positions reported experiencing sexual harassment since the age of 15, although this could reflect a greater awareness of sexual harassment law and policy.
However, research in the United States found that even when controlling for awareness of sexual harassment laws and policies, women in authority positions faced greater harassment. Women in work contexts dominated by men also faced greater harassment, suggesting this behaviour is a tool to keep targets ‘in their place’.
One survey found that 70 % of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United Kingdom had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, with LGBT women particularly affected.
Both women and men are more likely to face harassment in work contexts dominated by men.
There is a paucity of research on sexual harassment against men. In the EU, men face sexual harassment at roughly a third of the rate that women do.
Sexual harassment of men has been found to primarily consist of sexual comments and jokes, as well as intrusive questions about one’s private life. Men are more likely to face harassment from other men, as opposed to from women.
Men who violate stereotypical gender roles are more likely to face harassment, with men who engage in feminist activism facing higher levels of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Men who complain of sexual harassment have been found to be believed less, liked less and punished more than women who complain.