Workplace sexual harassment has been widely discussed, particularly since the Me:Too movement gained traction. Despite this, and despite various parts of employment law that are designed to protect workers from this kind of behaviour, the problem persists. Workplace sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that violates a worker’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or offensive environment. It can come from a colleague, a superior or a third party. It is recognised under multiple international agreements and laws as sex discrimination and it is both facilitated by and itself reinforces gender inequality in workplaces and in society as a whole
In this environment, WRDA came together with colleagues across the UK; Chwarae Teg, Fawcett Society and Close the Gap; to pool our resources and expertise and campaign to eradicate workplace sexual harassment.
The project, funded by Rosa’s Now’s the Time Challenge Fund has undertaken research on how employers, managers, and women view current experiences of sexual harassment and identifies five key requirements to create a workplace that does not tolerate sexual harassment: culture; policy; training; reporting mechanisms; and the way employers respond to reports. You can read the full report here.
Key findings from the latest report, show that:
- At least 40% of women have experienced workplace harassment, and women who are marginalised for other reasons, such as race or disability, face an increased risk and different forms of sexual harassment
- 45% of women in a recent survey reported experiencing harassment online through sexual messages, cyber harassment and sexual calls
- Almost a quarter of women who had been sexually harassed said the harassment had increased or escalated since the start of the pandemic while they were working from home
- Almost seven in ten (68%) disabled women reported being sexually harassed at work, compared to 52% of women in general
- Ethnic minority workers (women and men) reported higher rates (32%) of sexual harassment than white workers (28%) over the last 12 months
- A poll of LGBT workers found that 68% had experienced some form of harassment in the workplace
In addition to the research part of the project, we worked with employers across the UK to promote Anti-Sexual Harassment best practice within their organisations and created employer-focused resources to promote a proactive and responsive culture.
A toolkit of employer-focused resources has been created, supporting employers to be more proactive in their efforts towards eradicating sexual harassment in the workplace, testing all the resources with focus groups consisting of grassroots women, women’s organisations and stakeholders including Trade Unions.
The toolkit will:
- Help employers understand what is sexual harassment
- Provide confidence and skills to tackle sexual harassment at work
- Develop stand-alone anti-sexual harassment policies
- Create harassment-free cultures within their organisations
The toolkit includes:
- Tackling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Report
- Where to start – A guide for Employers
- Climate survey Template
- Template Sexual Harassment Policy and Guidance
- Campaign Video
- Template Campaign Posters
- Example Campaign Posters (South Wales Police)
- Case studies (Employers and Survivors)
- ASH Pioneer Training Materials
- Further Support and Guidance for Employers
- Support Organisations and Helplines for Employees
- Intersectionality – A Guide for Employers