Sexism and gender harassment were just as harmful to working women's individual health and work attitudes as common job stressors such as work overload and poor working conditions, revealed a new study.
Managers often believe that norms, leadership or policies may reduce intense harmful experiences of maltreatment of women in the workplace. Study authors Dr. Victor E. Sojo, Dr. Robert E. Wood and Anna E. Genat said, "However, the more frequent, less intense and often unchallenged gender harassment, sexist discrimination, sexist organizational climate and organizational tolerance for sexual harassment appeared at least as detrimental for women's well being. They should not be considered lesser forms of sexism."
Through an analysis of 88 independent studies of a combined 73,877 working women, the research team found that women are the targets of sexism and harassment in the workplace, they are more dissatisfied with supervisors than co-workers. They observed that there was a trend of a more negative effect of sexism and harassment in male-dominated workplaces, such as the armed forces and financial and legal services firms. The findings suggest that organizations should have zero tolerance for low intensity sexism, the same way they do for overt harassment.
The authors said, "This will require teaching workers about the harmful nature of low intensity sexist events, not only for women, but also for the overall organizational climate."
The study appeared in Psychology of Women Quarterly.