Gender harassment with no sexual advances is also harmful to women's physical and emotional health, a new study has revealed.
According to Emily Leskinen, Lilia Cortina, and Dana Kabat from the University of Michigan, gender harassment leads to negative personal and professional outcomes too and, as such, is a serious form of sex discrimination.
In their view, there is a case for interpreting existing legislation as including gender harassment, so that it is recognized as a legitimate and serious form of sex-based discrimination in the workplace.
They said that nine out of ten harassed women had experienced gender harassment primarily in the absence of sexual advances in the workplace.
And yet, within the current legal conception of sexual harassment, gender harassment involving no sexual advances routinely gets neglected by the law.
The researchers analyzed survey data from women working in two male-dominated environments: the US military (9,725 women) and federal legal practice (1,425 women).
Their analyses revealed five typical profiles of harassment: low victimization (sexist behavior); gender harassment (sexist and crude harassment); gender harassment with unwanted sexual attention; moderate victimization (moderate levels of all types of harassment); high victimization (frequent harassment).
The large majority (90 percent) of harassment victims fell into one of the first two groups, which describe virtually no unwanted sexual advances, yet are the most common manifestations of sex-based harassment.
Compared to non-victims, gender-harassed women reported negative personal and professional outcomes in the two different work environments. he findings were published in Springer's journal Law and Human Behavior.