Sexually harassed women leave workplace

Feb. 17, 2009 at 1:51 AM

HAIFA, Israel, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Women who encounter workplace sexual harassment tend to leave the organization, researchers in Israel said.

Research student Chana Levi and Professor Eran Vigoda-Gadot of the University of Haifa surveyed 192 women who work in the public sector in Israel. The purpose of the study was to observe whether women who had been sexually harassed would tend to leave their place of work, develop behaviors of work neglect or attempt to change the situation by means of taking particular action.

The study found that the level of reported sexual harassment was rather low.

The workers were asked to rank harassment experiences on a scale of 1-5 with 1 indicating no sexual harassment at all and 5 indicating constant harassment. Sexual harassment was defined as offensive sexually suggestive comments, repeated harassment intended to lead to sexual relations and actual sexual coercion.

The reported level of sexual harassment was 1.38, but one-third of the women reported having experienced gender harassment at medium or high frequency. Almost 90 percent of the women never experienced repeated attempts at sexual relations or seldom experienced it and 95.37 percent of the workers never or seldom experienced sexual blackmail.

The second stage of the study examined behavioral patterns of women who had experienced sexual harassment. It revealed that harassed women tend to leave their jobs.

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