Great Britain’s AdviseMeBarrister.com. just conducted an online survey to determine whether gender discrimination still exists in Great Britain, and if so, to what extent. The results shocked them, because about half of all women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
Although from the news reports it appears that the survey was not necessarily designed to assure its accuracy, or to do anything more than solicit comments from potential clients – a pool of respondents very likely skewed towards those who indeed suffered discrimination and/or gender harassment, the results are nonetheless disturbing.
As reported in The Times of India, which took its report from the Daily Mail:
— half of women believe that they are sexually discriminated daily;
— of women who claim to have suffered harassment, four out of 10 have been touched in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, and more than 25% have been kissed by a co-worker against their will;
— two thirds of women reported that they had experienced inappropriate comments about their dress, and 40% were forced to “dress down” because of this.
As a result of this workplace harassment, one out of three women have contemplated quitting, and 25% have suffered mental or physical health problems.
Yet only 20% of women have reported such discriminatory acts because they feared that people would not believe them (over 50%), they did not want “a black mark” (29%), they feared being branded “a trouble maker” (31%), or believed that they would not receive a promotion (12%).
Scientific or not, this survey should alert employers to the nature and extent of reported workplace gender discrimination, and remind them to maintain and publicize a “zero tolerance” policy towards any kind of harassing behavior, and regularly conduct anti-discrimination training programs for both managers and all other employees.