Half all working women harassed

MORE than half of all working women have been sexually harassed in the workplace according to one of the most detailed pieces of research on the issue, published yesterday. This is far more than previously thought.

The survey of 1,700 employees by the Industrial Society found that only 5 per cent of victims use formal procedures to protest.

Women suffer a range of psychological and job-related problems due to unwanted advances, according to the research.

Around a third of victims reported comments about appearance or suggestive looks, while 10 per cent said they had been touched by a harasser. The most frequent form of unwanted behaviour - suffered by 54 per cent - involved being addressed as 'dear, love, girl etc' and being looked up and down.

Although the frequency of actual or attempted rape was very low, a number of respondents reported harassers touching or rubbing themselves sexually, or making suggestive gestures.

One in 10 victims reported leaving or transferring jobs, or being denied career moves as a result of harassment.

Overwhelmingly, the unwanted behaviour is perpetrated on women by men, only 7 per cent of victims were male.

The report, No Offence?, found that a victim's most common reaction - telling the harasser to stop or threatening to report him - was frequently ineffective. Strong official action by the complainant and the employer was much more successful.

The authors, Janis Stanford and Jo Gardiner, said that harassment at work 'could be one of the most upsetting, humiliating and destructive experiences that can happen to an employee'.

It could interfere with thinking, judgement and concentration. Respondents also cited depression, sleep disturbance, confusion and mood swings. Work performance was undermined through absenteeism, lateness, changes in behaviour and accidents, the report found.

The authors advise victims to collect evidence, of the harassment, tell the perpetrator to stop, find out if anyone else has been troubled by the person concerned, complain to management and ask union or employee representatives for help.

Employers are urged to adopt a 10-point plan to deal with the problem including making it a disciplinary offence, enforcing a firm policy and providing training and counselling.

A BBC Education/Mori poll published on Friday found in interviews with 680 women that one in three had been harassed.

The problem seemed to be less common in the North and Scotland, where 20 per cent of respondents had been the victims, while in Wales, the Midlands and the South, the figure was 34 per cent. - 'No Offence? - Sexual Harassment, How It Happens and How to Beat It' costs pounds 30 and is available from the Industrial Society Sales Unit, Tel: 021-454 6769.

(Table omitted)

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff