Volume 94, Issue 91

Wednesday, March 14, 2001


Student fees are on the rise

Western awarded for language

City may install cameras this summer

New bill to target pimps and johns

Harassment still a big problem: report


His Royal Mintiness

Harassment still a big problem: report

By Adam Booth
Gazette Staff

Sexual harassment in the workplace is far from a thing of the past, according to the results of a survey included in a recent primer on gender diversity issues in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment is Still a Management Issue, a report included as part of a gender diversity "tool kit" recently released by the Conference Board of Canada, suggests sexual harassment of female workers is fairly commonplace in the current working world.

The report states 27 per cent of female employees in senior executive positions face career-related sexism. Meanwhile, even more women in non-senior, blue collar positions commonly face sexual harassment. About 48 per cent of such women had experienced harassment within the past year. The forms of sexist treatment ranged from flirtation from male co-workers, to crude comments, jokes and innuendoes, to outright sexual coercion.

The data was gathered by surveying women employees, including 400 executives, in several organizations, said Barb Orser, the author of the primer, and a staff member at the Centre of Excellence for Women's Advancement, a division of the CBOC.

"One message [the report] sends is that [sexual harassment] is still a real issue that individuals can still experience."

Orser said the research demonstrates a statistical correlation between poor general working conditions and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Marika Morris, research co-ordinator for the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, said equality between men and women in the workforce is yet to be achieved, but there is hope.

"This has potential to act as a catalyst for change," Morris said, in regard to the findings of the study.

She added the publication of such reports can encourage harassed women to take action to correct their problems with gender-related misconduct.

Matt Rae of The Women's Issues Network at Western, said the CBOC's survey shows the workplace is still a male-dominated environment.

"The backlash of the 1980's has created myths about the women's movement," Rae said, adding there is a misconception equality between the sexes has been reached, while sexism persists in the workplace.

"Awareness is the first step in development," Rae said.

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