August 25, 2009
Female Supervisors Face Significant Sexual Harassment
Probably not a big surprise to many readers out there that female supervisors are still harassed in large numbers, but the fact that this study show that they are harassed more than non-supervisor female employees is just a little surprising to me (via MSNBC):
Female managers are 137 percent more likely to experience sexual harassment than their rank-and-file counterparts, according to a recently released study.
Even Heather McLaughlin, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota and the primary investigator on the study, was surprised by the findings.
“It’s sort of a paradox,” she says. “You would expect that having that status and power over other employees would protect you from that behavior.”
Turns out it doesn’t, and McLaughlin’s conclusion is that “because of gender norms, people are still not accepting women in power positions.”
The report, “A Longitudinal Analysis of Gender, Power and Sexual Harassment in Young Adulthood,” looked at data that tracked nearly 600 individuals from adolescents into their 30s.
Perhaps men are further aroused by women in power or more likely, enjoy the thrill of bringing a women in power down to their own base level. In any event, sexual harassment training, which traditionally separates out rank-and-file workers from supervisors, probably should be modified to take this new phenomenon into account.
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