University of Colorado Study Finds Sexual Harassment on the Decline But Gender Harassment on the Rise

A new study by four women scholars at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder, finds that since the onset of the #MeToo movement, women are experiencing less sexual harassment in the workplace. However, gender harassment is on the rise.

Researchers interviewed 500 women about their experiences in the workplace. Sexual harassment was defined as overt unwanted sexual attention, including staring, leering and ogling or attempts to stroke or fondle. Gender harassment was defined as a coworker or supervisor making sexist remarks or displaying sexist material.

Stefanie K. Johnson, associate professor of organizational leadership and information analytics at the business school and co-author of the study, stated that “fewer women are being sexually harassed and those who still face harassment know that this is not something unique to them — it is an issue that many women have faced.”

But the authors found that gender harassment is increasing as a backlash to anti-sexual harassment movements. “We need to expand our focus on gender harassment and the ways that men and women can work together to improve workplace culture,” Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College in California, where she majored in psychology. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She joined the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014.

The full study, “Women at Work: Changes in Sexual Harassment Between September 2016 and September 2018,” was on the PLOS One website. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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