YouGov-Firstpost survey on sexual harassment at work: A roundup of the key findings of the study

The MeToo campaign has brought the issue of women's safety in the workplace to the fore after the outpouring of complaints against sexual harassment.

YouGov India, in consultation with Firstpost, recently conducted a pan-India survey of women — interviewing over 750 respondents — asking them a series of questions spanning the areas of sexual harassment in the workplace, the pay gap and the work-life balance. The exercise was conducted between 26 September and 5 October and employed a 26-question-long survey that covered respondents across 100 Indian cities. Firstpost serialised the findings pertaining to sexual harassment as a four-part series of infographics over course of the past week.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The following is a list of key findings from the survey:

- Over one in every four women (27 percent) claim to have heard a case of sexual harassment in their organisation. Furthermore, approximately 16 percent of the respondents admitted to having personally experienced harassment of this nature.

- It was also found that women who have never had a personal encounter with such an issue, tend to believe that they should look for support within the organisation, talking to a special body (if it exists) or a member of the HR team or even a superior. More than two-thirds of these women believe that the best thing to do is to report it to HR/management and insist on action.

- However, in reality, women who have personally suffered any kind of sexual harassment at work relied more on informal networks, primarily friends, for initial support; almost one in every four of these women said that the first person they spoke to was a friend.

- Similarly, when it came to taking advice on the matter, a significantly higher number of women indicated a reliance on friends rather than a formal channel and person with authority (like HR, special committees, anonymous groups or legal experts). At best, a superior in the office is someone they consulted.

- Only 29 percent of these women actually took help from HR/management to insist action was taken. Twenty-eight percent of the remaining took charge of the situation and either confronted the person directly, or sought help from an external source (like a lawyer, NGO, etc). A sizeable 39 percent however submitted to the situation and either changed their team, job or continued working nevertheless.

- This indicates that while organisations should create formal structures and bodies to handle such incidents, fostering and encouraging personal relationships and trust within the company is also critical to be able to manage such incidents in a better way, and lend the right kind of support to the victim.

- It's also seen in the data that while 55 percent of these women have indicated their boss/client/upper management to be the offender, in a shade over third of these cases (34 percent), it was actually a male colleague. This suggests that such harassment is not necessarily always a result of a power trip, but it’s also happening at the same work- or hierarchy-level.

Top incidents likely to be reported as sexual harassment
Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person 73%
Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts 67%
Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos with co-workers 67%
Asking sexual questions, such as inquiries about someone's sexual history or their sexual orientation 63%
Making inappropriate/offensive gestures 60%
Making offensive comments about someone's sexual orientation or gender identity 59%
Telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes 56%
Staring inappropriately or in an offensive manner, or whistling 55%

Infographics examining the responses of women from different age groups, city types, salary brackets and marital statuses can be viewed at the following links:

Abuse in office pervasive as ever, straddles generations 

Women in Tier 1 cities most likely to leave job after abuse

Women in top pay bracket most likely to be abused

Trends suggest married woman more likely to be abused by boss, supervisor


Updated Date: Oct 20, 2018 11:16 AM

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