Sexual Harassment at Work: Women in Management are More Likely to Suffer

September 5, 2009

Women supervisors are more likely to experience sexual harassment at work, says a study.

Almost 50 percent of female supervisors reported sexual harassment at work, while only one-third of women who were not supervisors reported sexual harassment in the workplace. In other studies with more conservative models, women supervisors were 137 percent more likely to be sexual harassed in the workplace.

Male supervisors, on the other hand, were not more likely to be sexually harassed, unless they were feminine. In which case, males who were more feminine were more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace than non-feminine men.

“This study provides the strongest evidence to date supporting the theory that sexual harassment is less about sexual desire than about control and domination,” said Heather McLaughlin, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota and the study’s primary investigator. “Male co-workers, clients and supervisors seem to be using harassment as an equalizer against women in power.”

The most common form of sexual harassment in the workplace included males harassing females or males harassing other males.

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