Lansing, MI– Sexual harassment in the workplace is a common enough for the average woman, but if that woman is self-professed feminist they are much more likely sexually harassed according to study. And even more surprising is the fact they don’t have to openly identify as a feminists to be the target of harassment.
The study was conducted by two researchers at the University of Michigan in 2013 by lead researchers Linda Holland and Lila Cortina and aimed to determine if there was a connection between and woman’s feminist beliefs and that rate at which they experience sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace, Phys.com reported.
Holland and Cortina theorized that active and verbal feminist women were more likely to be harassed and subjected to sexism because their core beliefs challenge man’s role as the dominant sex. They surveyed 424 women, half of who were self-identified feminists, asking them a series of questions which allowed researchers to differentiate between sexual harassment and gender discrimination. A smaller group of study participants, about 40 percent, didn’t openly identify as feminists but participated in minor activism such as signing a petition or donating to women’s causes.
Seventy-nine of survey participants reported being sexually harassed in at least one incident in the past year. Outwardly feminist women experienced less gender discrimination than the women who did not openly admit to being a feminist. On the other hand, open feminist women experienced more sexual harassment than the non-activist women. Holland explained the difference was due in part because activism is an observable behavior while identity is not, according to Phys.com.
Holland, a women’s study student at the time, reasoned, “Feminism directly questions male privilege, so men may perceive feminist women as a source of threat.” Holland added, “Men may therefore feel greater motivation to sexually harass women who endorse feminist ideology.”
This study correlates with other studies that examine the role power plays in workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. Those studies have found that both men and women believe sexual harassment occurs because one person is asserting their power over another coworker. A person in a higher position may feel like they can get away with harassment because they won’t face consequences and they often don’t.
Men and women alike can face sexual harassment and they also often have to face the stark realization that their employer isn’t going to protect them. Their employer is unlikely to do anything about their harassment or take action against the harasser. Sexual harassment attorneys stand up for victims when their employers won’t and strive for justice on their behalf.
If you are facing discrimination or harassment at work, USAttorneys recommends you speak with employment law attorney in Michigan to outline your rights and decide if you are eligible for compensation to cover your emotional damages and loss of wages. Contact a sexual harassment attorney today.