Sexual harassment prevalent in quasi-govt institutions

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SEXUAL harassment in the workplace is rampant especially quasi-government institutions, with 40% of employees having been subjected to or having witnessed sexual harassment, a survey has revealed.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Sexual harassment in the workplace includes but is not limited to unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature that creates an unpleasant environment.

According to a study by Industrial Psychological Consultants (IPC) titled Survey Report: Sexual Harassment Survey, the quasi-government sector has the greatest prevalence of sexual harassment among the sectors studied in the research.

“Employees from this sector are more likely to witness or be sexual harassed. Four out of ten employees in this sector have either been subjected to, or witnessed sexual harassment in the workplace,” the report says.

The survey established that female employees are five times more likely to be harassed than their male counterparts.

When a sexual harassment incident occurs in the workplace, it is more likely to be related to promotions and remuneration (salaries and benefits) the survey reveals.

“Among the sexual harassment cases reported by respondents in this survey, 6 in 10 employees report that they have been harassed on the basis of promotions and remuneration,” the report says.

The report says males are two times more likely to be unsure of the boundaries between sexual harassment and harmless flirting. It found that 30% of male employees mentioned that they are unclear of the boundaries while 17% of females report that they are unclear of the boundaries.

According to the report, 66% of the cases are not reported.

“There is consensus that bosses are the most prevalent perpetrators with regards to sexual harassment. Broadly speaking, 3 in 10 employees in each category reported that bosses are the usual perpetrators of sexual harassment offences,” it says “14% of the employees gave an account of being sexually harassed in the workplace. Thus approximately 1 in 10 employees has been sexually harassed in the workplace.”

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