Study Finds That Women Who Are Active In Feminist Causes Are More Likely to Be Harassed at Work

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan finds that women who are active in feminist causes tend to be harassed more at work than other women. The researchers surveyed more than 400 women about their work experiences. More than half of the women self-identified themselves as feminists. About 40 percent of the women surveyed stated that they had engaged in some type of feminist activism such as participating in a rally or contributing to a cause. All told about 79 percent of the women surveyed stated that they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment at work.

kahollanKathryn Holland, the study’s lead author and a graduate student in women’s studies and psychology at the University of Michigan, stated, “Women openly engaging in activism for women’s rights may pose a more obvious threat to the existing gender hierarchy — a hierarchy that grants more power to men than women. Feminism directly questions male privilege, so men may perceive feminist women as a source of threat. Men may therefore feel greater motivation to sexually harass women who endorse feminist ideology.” Holland received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois.

The research, which was coauthored by Lilia Cortina, an associate professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, was published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly. The article may be accessed here.

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