Study Finds Sexually Harassed Women Tend to Leave Organization

Women who have been through sexual harassment at the workplace tend to leave the organization. That's according to a study that was carried out at the University of Haifa. "It is a matter of having no other outlet and not an act of control and power," the researchers stated.

The study, which was carried out by research student Chana Levi and professor Eran Vigoda-Gadot, surveyed 192 women who work in the public sector in Israel. The purpose of the study was to observe whether women who had been sexually harassed would tend to leave their place of work, develop behaviors of work neglect, or attempt to change the situation by means of taking particular action. The study also observed how much internal politics in an organization and the level of the employee's belief in her own ability to change things (self-capability) affect the behavioral patterns of sexually harassed women.

The study reports that the level of reported sexual harassment was rather low. The workers were asked to rank harassment experiences on a scale of 1-5 (where 1 is experiencing no sexual harassment at all and 5 is constant harassment), harassment being defined as offensive sexually suggestive comments (gender harassment), repeated harassment intended to lead to sexual relations, and actual sexual coercion. According to the study, the level of sexual harassment was 1.38. That said, a third of the women reported having experienced gender harassment at medium or high frequency (66.69 percent of the women reported that they never experienced gender harassment or rarely experienced it); 89.85 percent of the women never experienced repeated attempts at sexual relations or seldom experienced it; 95.37 percent of the workers never or seldom experienced sexual blackmail.

The research also revealed that in the organizations where the female employees reported more internal politics (i.e., where decisions are made based on personal and not business interests) there are also more cases of sexual harassment.

The second stage of the study examined behavioral patterns of women who had experienced sexual harassment. It revealed that harassed women tend to leave their jobs. The factor that can lead women to staying at their places of work despite sexual harassment is their level of self-capability: the more a woman believes in her own power to change the present reality the more she will prefer not to leave her workplace. The level of organizational politics also affects behavioral patterns: the more an organization is considered egalitarian, fair, and just, the more sexually harassed women preferred to put up a fight within the organization; and vice versa.

According to the researchers, these conclusions indicate that organizations that wish to combat the phenomenon of sexual harassment ought to set clear policies that minimize uncertainty and the risks that confront a female worker who wishes to make a complaint.

"There is a tendency to think that it is the stronger woman who believes in her capabilities who will choose to leave a place of work in which she experienced sexual harassment because she believes in her abilities and the possibility of finding another job. But the study's findings showed that a worker who leaves an organization following sexual harassment does so out of inability to bring about a positive solution to the situation and not as an act based on strength and power," the researchers concluded.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThink Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today.

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Get a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to have less hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. 1-on-1 consultations provide you with personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled all the key information you need to know about safety gloves to help you make informed decisions when choosing gloves for your workers. Whether you're new to the world of safety gloves or an experienced pro, this guide has something for everyone.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products to your sample box, complete the request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Cut Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers to protect them from cut hazards. This guide offers a wide selection of gloves, including ultra-thin gloves with the industry’s maximum cut resistance for unbeatable dexterity and touch sensitivity.

  • Superior Glove

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - February March 2023

    February March 2023


      Does Real-Time Data Enhance Gas Detection Programs?
      Hearing Protection: The Dangers of Non-Compliance
      Personal Protective Equipment: The Pains of Staying Pain-Free
      Reframing Eyewear: Meeting Workforce Needs with Technology and Advancements
    View This Issue