Is sexual harassment a major issue in the workplace? It depends on who you ask. A recent survey conducted by Working Mother magazine, in conjunction with the American Bar Association, shows a wide discrepancy in how men and women view the depth and breadth of the problem, even in the wake of the #MeToo movement. The poll surveyed approximately 3,000 people employed in law firms and businesses.
Reaching Gender Equality
In the survey, the question was asked whether men and women are allies in achieving gender equality in the workplace. Approximately 31 percent responded affirmatively, while 54 percent of men said yes. The #MeToo Movement has affected the male perception on developing one-on-one professional relationships with female colleagues, with 56 percent of men agreeing that mentoring and sponsorship could prove risky because of the view that some type of unacceptable behavior may occur. Only 35 percent of women thought there was a risk attached.
One male commented that even one allegation could kill a career, and he would not allow himself to be alone with women in his office. There was another surprising survey result as 61 percent of females thought men held a disproportionate share of authority in their workplace, while just 37 percent of males agreed.
Tolerance and Accountability
Nearly half of female respondents felt their companies tolerated unacceptable behavior, while just 30 percent of men agreed. Nearly 45 percent of women said they had no confidence in the senior management of their organization to address sexual harassment, compared to 24 percent of men who lacked this confidence.
An overwhelming majority of the females surveyed, 68 percent, had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and just 38 percent of women felt employees are held accountable for upholding company policies regarding harassment. From the male perspective, 56 percent thought employees were held accountable, and just 19 percent of men admitted they experienced workplace sexual harassment.
The survey asked respondents to provide possible solutions to sexual harassment in the workplace. Among the suggested ideas were creating comprehensive educational programs, addressing all types of sexual harassment, companies stating clearly what is and is not acceptable workplace behavior, maintaining a culture of respect for all employees, and holding honest conversations on the subject with employees at every level.
Based on the survey results, it is clear there is still a long way to go when it comes to addressing workplace sexual harassment and gender equality, and men do not see it nearly as much of a problem as do women. Perhaps the only positive thing to come out of this survey is recognition that more open discussions on this sensitive issue are necessary.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual harassment at work, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and the state of New Jersey.