Washington: Women holding
supervisory positions are more likely to be sexually harassed at
work, says the first-ever, large-scale longitudinal study to examine
workplace power, gender and sexual harassment.
provides the strongest evidence to date supporting the theory that
sexual harassment is less about sexual desire than about control and
domination," said Heather McLaughlin, sociologist at the University
of Minnesota (U-M) and principal study investigator.
clients and supervisors seem to be using harassment as an equalizer
against women in power," added McLaughlin.
The study reveals
that nearly 50 percent of women supervisors, but only one-third of
women who do not supervise others, reported sexual harassment in the
who looked or acted feminine were more likely to have experienced
harassment than less feminine men. More feminine men were at a
greater risk of experiencing more severe or multiple forms of sexual
harassment (as were female supervisors).
conservative models with stringent statistical controls, women
supervisors were 137 percent more likely to be sexually harassed
than women who did not hold managerial roles. While supervisory
status increased the likelihood of harassment among women, it did
not significantly impact the likelihood for men.
McLaughlin and her
co-authors examined data from the 2003 and 2004 waves of the Youth
Development Study (YDS), a prospective study of adolescents that
began in 1988 with a sample of 1,010 ninth graders in the St. Paul,
Minnesota, public school district and has continued near annually
approximately 29 and 30 years old during the 2003 and 2004 waves.
The analysis was supplemented with in-depth interviews with a subset
of the YDS survey respondents.
found that, in addition to workplace power, gender expression was a
strong predictor of workplace harassment.
will be presented at the 104th annual meeting of the American