Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Most women stay mum on sexual abuse at work: poll

GLASS SILENCE:A survey on gender equality in the workplace found that not only are women more likely to be harrassed, they are also less likely to get raises

By Yang Chiu-ying and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

About three in four women who have been sexually harassed at work choose to stay silent, a survey conducted by the Council of Labor Affairs to gauge the state of gender equality in the workplace showed.

The survey was released on Tuesday and showed that approximately 5.2 percent of female respondents said they had been sexually harassed in the office, compared with only 0.9 percent of male respondents.

The survey found that women between the ages of 15 and 24 were at higher risk of being sexually harassed, while widows and divorcees were more subject to sexual harassment at work than their single counterparts.

Despite a growing awareness of gender equality in the workplace, the survey found that as many as 75 percent of female employees who have suffered sexual harassment chose not to complain.

Of those who stayed silent, 44 percent said they did so because they dismissed the harassment as a joke, 23 percent because they were afraid of losing their jobs and 18 percent because they did not want to become the subject of office gossip.

The poll also found that the three most common types of sexual harassment offenders are colleagues, clients and supervisors, and that about 25 percent of female victims who decided to report the harassment turned to their supervisors.

The survey also found that women are more susceptible to gender discrimination in the workplace than men. Of those polled, 4.5 percent said their gender had affected their receiving a pay raise, 3.6 percent said gender played a part in the distribution of work at their office and 3.6 percent said gender affected the likelihood of receiving a promotion.

The poll results also revealed that female employees in the construction industry are the ones most likely to not receive pay raises because of their gender, with about 1 in 10, or 11.4 percent, of repondents in construction saying their gender had prevented them from getting a pay raise. The manufacturing sector was second with 8.5 percent and the service industry third with 7.6 percent.

While women have made significant progress in breaking gender stereotypes, a handful of female respondents said that being married, pregnant or having children remained the main impediments to their careers or made it harder for them to take personal leave.

The poll was conducted between Nov. 1 and Nov. 13 last year, and collected 4,105 valid samples.

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