2. How Common is Sexual Harassment?
It is difficult to establish
the extent to which sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. Many
studies indicate that sexual harassment is widespread and that it takes
a serious toll on women's lives and careers. On the other hand, critics
point out that such studies elicit responses only from those persons
who have experienced sexual harassment and that such incidence rates
may be inflated.
counter that rates of sexual harassment may actually be underreported
because many women are conditioned to accept harassing behavior as joking
or compliments, and they don't report it either in questionnaires or
at work. Increasingly, however, women are recognizing harassment as
illegal, reporting it and seeking remedies. At the same time, men and
women are coming to agree on the definition of harassment.
into account the methodological concerns described above, surveys and
other studies leave no doubt that sexual harassment is a widespread
and continuing problem in workplaces and in educational institutions.
It transcends occupational and professional categories, age groups,
educational backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, and income levels
and affects everyone.
the United States on the extent of sexual harassment [internal link], likewise, indicate
that the problem is still widespread in the workplace and educational
Equal Rights Advocates, a women’s
law center in the U.S. which specializes in issues of sex-based discrimination
has complied a list of statistics about sexual
harassment in the workplace which give some insight into the magnitude
of the problem as well as the impact it has on women victims.