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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones