Denver, CO- A new survey of female journalists conducted by the International Women’s Media Foundation and the International News Safety Institute showed that the majority of respondents have faced sexual harassment, intimidation and threats from bosses and coworkers.
Of the 875 international respondents, 64 percent said they had been subjected to “intimidation, threats or abuse” while in the field or at their office. The primary perpetrators in these incidents were bosses or coworkers, according to the survey.
Forty-six percent of women said they were sexually harassed which included “unwanted comments on dress or appearance.” This is a figure that comports with other data that shows between forty and fifty percent of working women have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lives.
The survey also found that 21 percent of women said they had be the victims of physical violence such being pushed down, pinned down, threatened and assault with a weapon. Thirteen percent said they had been sexually assaulted on the job, which frequently occurred in the office.
The majority of the sexual harassment and intimidation were not reported and 76 percent who said they were assaulted never contacted police or other authorities. That according to the Amanda Hess, a writer for Salon, who reported on the survey is due in part because police (3 percent), government officials (7 percent) are the perpetrators of the misconduct.
Hess believes that because the American and international journalism field is dominated by men who make up three-fourths of top managers and two-thirds of journalists, these incidents go unreported or unaddressed. Hess states men in journalism are “too professionally powerful, too entrenched to really be held accountable for their behavior.”
Some question the results of the survey such as Bloomberg’s Megan McCardle, who asked how the data was collected. The woman who analyzed the data explained, “The sampling for the survey was a mixture of opportunity sampling (INSI and IWMF asking women in their networks to complete the survey) and snowball sampling (where women who had already completed the survey forwarded details to other women in their network to complete it).”
To McCardle this indicates that the results of the survey are a bit skewed since the responses came from women who have a particular interest in the subject since many of them have been victims themselves. She says that online opportunity sampling doesn’t give an accurate picture of the issue since people who have no experience with a particular issue would ignore such a survey.
McCardle states, “The problem with the INSI/IWMF survey is that the people who decided to respond probably aren’t very like the whole population of ‘female journalists.’”
The results of this survey may be a bit biased and a more scientific survey method could give a more accurate picture, but the reality is that regardless of an individual’s profession sexual harassment is an issue in thousands of workplaces. When a person is being harassed in their workplace they can turn to a Denver sexual harassment attorney to figure out what their course of action should be.