Two thirds of young women workers in Britain sexually harassed

Two thirds of young women workers in Britain sexually harassed — research

LONDON – More than half of the young women in Britain have experienced sexual harassment at work, research published Wednesday reveals.

The study by the trade union body, the TUC, said the problem was even worse for young women workers aged 18 to 24 with nearly two-thirds saying they had been sexually harassed by colleagues.

The study is the largest of its kind for a generation and cited by leading Dublin-based academic Dr. Jane Pilliger as one of the most extensive pieces of research on sexual harassment at work in Europe.

It reveals that of those surveyed, nearly one in three (32 percent) of women have been subject to unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature while at work.

More than one in four (28 percent) have been the subject of comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes at work, while 23 percent of women have experienced unwanted touching, such as a hand on the knee or lower back at work.

In total, 51 percent reported experiencing some kind of sexual harassment. One in eight women say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them at work.

The survey also finds that around four out of five (79 percent) women who said they experienced sexual harassment at work did not tell their employer fearing they would be disbelieved or it would harm their career prospects.

Nearly one in five (17 percent) women reported that the aggressor was their line manager or someone with direct authority over them.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Sexual harassment is undermining, humiliating and can have a huge effect on mental health. Victims are often left feeling ashamed and frightened. It has no place in a modern workplace, or in wider society.”

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, said: “Many people would like to think that workplace sexual harassment is a thing of the past. In reality it is having a huge impact on tens of thousands of women’s lives.”

“These findings reveal the shameful extent of the problem and the reality of the touching, unwanted advances, and inappropriate comments women find themselves confronted with while simply trying to do their jobs,” she added. (PNA/Xinhua)

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