Sexual Harassment: Why Some Firms Are More Prone To It
Here’s some insight into why some organisations are more prone to sexual harassment than others. Researchers found three key factors for this. Firms that are male dominated, hierarchical and forgiving of bad behaviour are more prone to sexual abuse.
Aggression and competition
Firms more prone to sexual harassment have company cultures characterised by aggression and competition, according to studies. Such organisations have a gender imbalance, which increases negative gender-based behaviours against women.
“In those organisations that are more prone to sexual harassment than others, in my opinion, the organisation culture encourages such behaviour. It is telegraphed from the top, as acceptable behaviour,” writer Harini Calamur tells SheThePeople.TV
Hierarchies and power
Studies show having power means people feel they can do whatever they want. Sexual harassment in hierarchical organisations is often couched in transaction-based terms.
A friend reveals how in the US music industry, music directors demand sexual favours. She recounts how a producer asked her to perform oral sex in return for signing up for an album. She refused and lost the record deal.
Ex-head of Harlequin India and director of Gaia Smart Cities, Amrita Chowdhury, agrees.
“Harassment at its core is definitely an assertion of power of the stronger over the weaker,” – Amrita Chowdhury
Permissiveness of work culture
If a firm has a culture in which women are undervalued, they may not feel comfortable reporting harassment. They may feel their concerns will be ignored or they will be reprimanded. An example of this is Uber, where Susan Fowler spoke about how she complained to HR several times. She was told no action would be taken against the perpetrator. And hers wasn’t the only case.