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Women are not reporting victimisation and harassment for fear of damaging their career

Almost one in 10 women have been sexually harassed in the workplace, and even more feel victimised by male bosses.

According to research of 1,496 women by HR consultancy Reabur, 8% of women feel sexually harassed while at work but less than half report it. The poll also found that 11% of women have felt ‘victimised’ by their male boss.   

When asked ‘why have you not reported the sexual harassment incident to a manager or HR department’ 32% say they feel ‘it would affect their future career’ and a further 21% do not think that the complaint would be ‘taken seriously’.

According to the research 21% have had a male colleague make a sexist comment in the work place, with 39% of them admitting that they wanted to make a formal complaint about the remark.

Two per cent  claim to have been touched inappropriately by a male colleague whilst at work, although only 14% of them have told anyone about the incident. Just under a quarter (23%) explained they fear they may be seen as ‘overreacting’.

Of the women polled, 16% claim to work in an environment dominated by men, 41% of which say they ‘prefer’ working with men.  However, 26% of the women that work predominately with men admit to feeling ‘uncomfortable’ in certain situations.

The study also found 11% of the female respondents have felt ‘victimised’ by their male peers and a further 23% feel that their male boss would promote a male colleague over them, because of their gender.

And a further 16% of those asked cited that they do not feel as though male peers ‘respect’ them and 12% do not think their boss has as much ‘faith in their abilities’ as they do on their male peers.

Kirsty Burgess, co- managing director of Reabur, said: "It is concerning that many women still feel that they will not be taken seriously. I would strongly advise any victim of harassment to report the incident to a manager or trusted colleague. On many occasions these situations can be resolved internally, and the resolution makes for a much happier work environment.

"There definitely seems to be the feeling that males are preferred in the workplace. Although this is difficult to prove, my advice is that if people do feel undermined at work for any reason, they contact the appropriate HR department, if there is one. If not, there are many other forms of advice out there for people to take advantage of."