Sense of Weakness Forces Sexually Harassed Women Out of Office

by Tanya Thomas on  February 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM Lifestyle News
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 Sense of Weakness Forces Sexually Harassed Women Out of Office
The results of a new study have revealed that women who have faced worplace sexual harassment often leave their organisation due to their inability to bring about a positive solution to the situation.

Conducted by research student Chana Levi and Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, the study surveyed 192 women who work in the public sector in Israel.

"It is a matter of having no other outlet and not an act of control and power," said the researchers.

The study was aimed to observe whether women who had been sexually harassed would tend to leave their place of work, develop behaviours of work neglect, or attempt to change the situation by means of taking particular action.

Also, the study tried to find out 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 behavioural patterns of sexually harassed women.

The study found that the level of reported sexual harassment was rather low.

Also, the researchers found that in the organisations 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.

In the second part of the study, the researchers examined behavioural patterns of women who had experienced sexual harassment.

It revealed that harassed women tend to leave their jobs.

One things 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.

Also, the level of organizational politics also affects behavioural 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.

The researchers said that the findings indicated 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," concluded the researchers.

Source: ANI

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