Sexual Harassment As A Form Of Sexual Discrimination

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While it may not be obvious to many women exactly how much their pay difference is from that of their male coworker, the issue of sexual harassment is often more blatant. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is due to the person’s gender. There are several most recognized forms of sexual harassment. One includes direct sexual advances or suggestions where an employee, such as one who ranks higher than the individual being harassed, asks for sexual favors (Fitzgerald, 1993). Another is intimidation or barring women employees for the purpose of risking their employment status (Fitzgerald, 1993). Yet another includes creating a hostile work environment for women by using sexist jokes, comments or overtly displaying sexually explicit or pornographic images (Fitzgerald, 1993).

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Sexual harassment is not mutual and is not welcomed. It is considered rude demeaning behavior and is usually about the abuse of power (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). This harassment can also be considered psychological abuse as it hurts the women’s sense of self and the work atmosphere (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). Other psychological outcomes can include anxiety, depression, headaches, difficulty sleeping, weight fluctuations, nausea and sexual dysfunction (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). According to Fitzgerald (1993), women are more likely than men to leave their jobs, more likely to move to another location in the company and more likely to lose jobs due to harassment (Fitzgerald, 1993). There can also be serious economic consequences from being sexually harassed since it jeopardizes a woman’s financial security if she feels the need to quit in order to prevent further harm to herself (Fitzgerald, 1993). There is evidence to say that women are more likely than men to become centers of workplace harassments, sexual harassment, gender-based judgement and assault (Fitzgerald, 1993). These harmful experiences are a symbol of impediments for women’s career fulfilment and development as well as their organizational and individual well-being.

There is still disclination against women that basically force them into lower-paying jobs such as care-giving positions that are not valued greatly and, in a way, sexual harassment helps keep them in these jobs. Though this may not be the intention of the individual doing the harassing, this tends to be the effect. When taken in this framework, male workers who harass women at work are doing more than being irritating (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). They are reminding her of her susceptibility and making pressures that make her job more difficult (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). This in effect can also make her cautious to look for higher paying jobs where she may see the pressure as being even greater (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). Overall, sexual harassment makes an environment full of intimidation and repression. A woman who is the target of sexual harassment tends to through the same process of victimization as someone who has survived a rape, battering or other gender-related crimes (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016). This leads her to regularly blame herself and distrust her own self-worth (Sojo, Wood & Genat, 2016).

Women employed in fields that are conventionally seen as “women’s work” such as waitressing and secretarial work, are usually given unskilled and debasing tasks (MacKinnon, 1979). They tend to be called demeaning names and are led to believe that a certain amount of male domination and sexism is normal (MacKinnon, 1979). All of this strengthens the idea that women are of little worth in the workplace. Women who attempt to break into traditionally male-dominated work such as construction jobs, medicine or financial investments often go through even more intense harassment obviously intended to compel them to leave (MacKinnon, 1979). Therefore, sexual harassment tends to informally accomplish what laws against sex-based discrimination is supposed to stop; gender-based requirements for a place of employment. A woman exposed to sexual harassment undergoes degradation, pressure, or hostility that her male-coworkers don’t have to tolerate, which males it that much harder to compete for the job and for progression (MacKinnon, 1979).

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