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NCBI Bookshelf. This chapter reviews the information gathered through decades of sexual harassment research. It provides definitions of key terms that will be used throughout the report, establishing a common framework from the research literature and the law for discussing these issues.
In reviewing what sexual harassment research has learned over time, the chapter also examines the research methods for studying sexual harassment and the appropriate methods for conducting this research in a reliable way.
The chapter provides information on the prevalence of sexual harassment and common characteristics of how sexual harassment is perpetrated and experienced across lines of industry, occupation, and social class. It concludes with common characteristics of environments where sexual harassment is more likely to occur. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment was first recognized in cases in which women lost their jobs because they rejected sexual overtures from their employers e. Costle 1. Soon it was recognized in employment law that pervasive sexist behavior from coworkers can create odious conditions of employment—what became known as a hostile work environment —and also constitute illegal discrimination Farley ; MacKinnon ; Williams v.
These two basic forms of sexual harassment, quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment, were summarized in guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in USEEOC Hostile work or educational environments can be created by behaviors such as addressing women in crude or objectifying terms, posting pornographic images in the office, and by making demeaning or derogatory statements about women, such as telling anti-female jokes. Hostile environment harassment also encompasses unwanted sexual overtures such as exposing one's genitals, stroking and kissing someone, and pressuring a person for dates even if no quid pro quo is involved Bundy v.
Jackson ; 3 Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson 4. An important distinction between quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment is that the former usually involves a one-on-one relationship in which the perpetrator has control of employment- or educational-related rewards or punishments over the target.
In contrast, the latter can involve many perpetrators and many targets. In the hostile environment form of sexual harassment, coworkers often exhibit a pattern of hostile sexist behavior toward multiple targets over an extended period of time Holland and Cortina For hostile sex-related or gender-related behavior to be considered illegal sexual harassment, it must be pervasive or severe enough to be judged as having had a negative impact upon the work or educational environment.
Therefore, isolated or single instances of such behavior typically qualify only when they are judged to be sufficiently severe. Legal scholars and judges continue to use the two subtype definitions of quid pro quo and hostile environment to define sexual harassment. Illegal sexual harassment falls under the umbrella of a more comprehensive category, discriminatory behavior. Illegal discrimination can occur on the basis of any legally protected category: race, ethnicity, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disabilities, veteran status, prior conviction of a crime, gender identity or expression, or membership in other protected classes set forth in state or federal law.
Regarding sexual harassment, the focus of this report, this includes gender harassmenta term deed to emphasize that harmful or illegal sexual harassment does not have to be about sexual activity USEEOC n. Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination because it is harmful and it is based on gender—it is not necessarily motivated by sexual desire nor does it need to involve sexual activity. Both legal doctrine and social science research recognize gender as encompassing both one's biological sex and gender-based stereotypes and expectations, such as heterosexuality and proper performance of gender roles.
Sexual harassment in the form of gender harassment can be based on the violation of cultural gender stereotypes. While a woman may be gender harassed for taking a job traditionally held by a man or in a traditionally male field.
Gender harassment in such a situation might consist of actions to sabotage the woman's tools, machinery, or equipment, or telling the woman she is not smart enough for scientific work. Subsequent sections of this report discuss gender harassment in greater detail.
Psychologists who study gender-related behavior have developed more nuanced terms to describe sexual harassment in order to more precisely measure and for the behaviors that constitute sexual harassment and to describe how targets experience those behaviors. A three-part classification system divides sexual harassment into distinct but related : sexual coercionunwanted sexual attentionand gender harassment see Figure ; Fitzgerald et al.
While sexual coercion is by definition quid pro quo sexual harassment, more Sexual coercion entails sexual advances, and makes the conditions of employment or education, for students contingent upon sexual cooperation.
Unwanted sexual attention also entails sexual advances, but it does not add professional rewards or threats to force compliance. In this category are expressions of romantic or sexual interest that are unwelcome, unreciprocated, and offensive to the target; examples include unwanted touching, hugging, stroking, and persistent requests for dates or sexual behavior despite discouragement, and can include assault Cortina, Koss, and Cook ; Fitzgerald, Gelfand, and Drasgow ; Fitzgerald, Swan, and Magley Gender harassment is by far the most common type of sexual harassment.
Gender harassment is further defined as two types: sexist hostility and crude harassment. Examples of the sexist hostility form of gender harassment for women include demeaning jokes or comments about women, comments that women do not belong in leadership positions or are not smart enough to succeed in a scientific career, and sabotaging women. The crude harassment form of gender harassment is defined as the use of sexually crude terms that denigrate people based on their gender e.
Both women and men can and do experience all three forms of sexual harassment, but some subgroups face higher rates than others. For example, women who are lesbian or bisexual Cortina et al. Interestingly, the motivation underlying sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention behaviors appears different from the motivation underlying gender harassment.
Whereas the first two suggest sexual advances the goal being sexual exploitation of womenthe third category is expressing hostility toward women the goals being insult, humiliation, or ostracism Holland and Cortina However, it is important to note that these come-on behaviors are not necessarily about attraction to women; more often than not, they are instead motivated by the desire to devalue women or punish those who violate gender norms Berdahl b ; Cortina and Berdahl Some researchers further define the verbal insults associated with gender harassment, along with accompanying nonverbal affronts, as microaggressions.
This term can also be broken down into three : microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations Sue et al. There is some concern that microaggression remains a poorly defined construct, with porous boundaries. Additionally, the use of the term micro is misleading, as it implies all these experiences are minor or imperceptible acts. Yet some microaggressions, such as referring to people by using offensive names, are obviously offensive and can be deeply damaging.
Similarly the root word aggression is also misleading, as most experts reserve this term for behavior that carries intent to harm Lilienfeld For these reasons, our committee chose to focus on incivilitya term in greater use in the workplace aggression literature. Lim and Cortina point out that if sexual harassment is tolerated in an organization or not seen as a deviant behavior, incidents of general incivility would be expected to be even less likely to receive attention from management. Based on these findings, it could be argued that generalized incivility should be a red flag for leadership or management in work and education environments, because when gender harassment occurs, it is virtually always in environments with high rates of uncivil conduct Cortina et al.
For example, it can include pornography being displayed in a common area or sexually abusive language being used publicly in the work or education environment Parker Ambient unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion refer to observed instances of unwanted sexual pursuit, targeted at a fellow employee. In other words, one need not be personally targeted to feel the effects of sexual harassment much like second-hand smoke. Despite refined Not a southerner educated guy looking for sexual woman and terms to describe sexual harassment and gender discrimination, documenting the degree of these behaviors in work and education environments remains challenging.
This is in part because individuals experiencing these behaviors rarely label them as such. Sexual harassment a form of discrimination is composed of three of behavior: 1 gender harassment verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender2 unwanted sexual attention verbal or physical unwelcome sexual advances, which can include assaultand 3 sexual coercion when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity.
Harassing behavior can be either direct targeted at an individual or ambient a general level of sexual harassment in an environment. Box provides a quick review of the key terms introduced in this chapter. The goal of providing recommendations for preventing sexual harassment and mitigating its effects in academic science, engineering, and medicine requires evidence-based research. Different studies have different strengths and weaknesses, and these should be kept in mind when reviewing their findings, particularly if leaders in academic institutions, legislators, and researchers hope to de meaningful and effective interventions and policies.
The two most commonly used study methods are surveys and laboratory experiments. Important findings have also emerged using in-depth interviews, case studies, sociolegal analyses, and other methods. When conducting or reviewing research examining sexual harassment, it is crucial that the methods used to conduct the research match the goals for the research. It is crucial to note that the prevalence of sexual harassment in a population is best estimated using representative surveys and Not a southerner educated guy looking for sexual woman by relying on the invariably lower of official reports of sexual harassment made to an organization see the discussion in Chapter 4 about how rare it is for women to formally report their experience.
The next sections discuss these various research methods and the kind of information they provide. Surveys, containing well-validated instruments, can be useful in estimating the prevalence how common sexual harassment experiences or behaviors are among people in a given population and determining correlates, antecedents, outcomes, and factors that attenuate or amplify outcomes from sexual harassment. For instance, they can assess links between harassment and different aspects of targets' well-being, targets' understanding of the resources available to them, and the strategies they use to cope.
Basing a survey on a defined population accessible from a comprehensive list, or sample frame, can be helpful. Sometimes, too, using multiple instruments and data sources can be a highly effective approach. Though surveys have often focused on the targets of sexually harassing behavior e. Conducting surveys on sexual harassment is challenging, but fortunately researchers have addressed many of these challenges.
Those wishing to conduct a survey on sexual harassment ought to follow the scientific methods described below and the ethical and safety guidelines for this type of research WHO Poorly conducting surveys on sexual harassment is unethical because responding to the survey could needlessly retraumatize the respondent. Additionally, the resulting inaccurate data from such a survey could be used to question the importance and legitimacy of such an important and sensitive topic WHO An initial challenge in conducting survey research on sexual harassment is that many women are not likely to label their experiences as sexual harassment.
This illustrates what other research has shown: that in both the law and the lay public, the dominant understandings of sexual harassment overemphasize two forms of sexual harassment, sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention, while downplaying the third most common type—gender harassment see Figure ; Leskinen, Cortina, and Kabat ; Schultz Regardless of whether women self-label their experiences as sexual harassment or not, they all have similar negative psychological and professional outcomes Magley, Hulin, et al.
The public consciousness of sexual harassment and specific sexually harassing behaviors. This labeling issue was first identified in research on rape and sexual violence. Subsequent studies of sexual harassment found similar Ilies et al. With extensive psychometric evidence supporting it, the SEQ has become the gold standard in the assessment of sexual harassment experiences in both work and school settings Cortina and Berdahl Unfortunately, some recent studies attempting to measure the prevalence of sexual harassment have not followed this good practice and are thus likely to have low prevalence rates, be missing data about those who have experienced gender harassment, and as a result be unreliable for evaluating the prevalence of sexual harassment.
Another hurdle faced by surveys on sexual harassment is that women who have experienced sexual harassment may be reluctant to respond to a survey on the topic or to admit being a target or victim because sexual harassment can be stigmatizing, humiliating, and traumatizing Greco, O'Boyle, and Walter ; Bumiller To encourage open self-reports, it is important that survey responses are confidential, if not anonymous, and to reassure survey participants that this is the case.
Additionally, to help avoid a nonresponse bias i. In a meta-analytic review of the incidence of sexual harassment in the United States, Ilies and colleagues found that directly asking respondents whether they had experienced sexual harassment as opposed to using questionnaires that list behaviors that constitute sexual harassment led to substantially lower estimates of sexual harassment incidence.
When determining prevalence estimates, attention must be given to minimizing nonresponse biases in the survey sample.Not a southerner educated guy looking for sexual woman
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Devastatingly pervasive: 1 in 3 women globally experience violence