Workplace women harassed

Half of working women in Canada have endured sexual harassment in their careers, according to a recent Insights West survey.

The online survey released on Dec. 6, also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, states many of the incidents were never reported to a superior or human resources department.

“It is evident that many working women in Canada have faced unwanted situations during the course of their careers,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West.

Fifty per cent of working women in Canada say they have experienced a significant, moderate or small amount of sexual harassment.

More than half of working women in Canada say they have experienced conduct, comments, gestures of a sexual nature that caused them offence of humiliation.

Women said they had to listen to unwanted jokes with sexual content from a co-worker, and 40 per cent of them heard those remarks from a boss, manager or superior.

Unwanted sexual comments, unwanted touching or patting, cat-calls, whistles, pressure to go on dates, presence of pornography or sexual images at work and unwanted pressure for sexual activity from a co-worker were just some of the harassments women faced.

Only 22 per cent filed a complaint after being offended or humiliated by somebody else’s behaviour.

“Very few of these incidents have been duly reported, partly because there are low expectations for significant action,” said Canseco.

Of the women who went forward to file a complaint, only 46 per cent said the employee who behaved improperly was penalized or reprimanded.

Canada Labour Code defines sexual harassment as “any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.”

Insights West is a progressive marketing research company based in Vancouver and Calgary.

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