Main Article Content
Sexual harassment and gender discrimination overlap affecting people (including children) of all genders, however data shows an overwhelmingly high prevalence of violence or harassment experienced by women in areas of conflict, professional life and in their homes as well as in the healthcare workplace. It is pervasive, persistent and all too common.
Workplace sexual harassment an discrimination although illegal, is particularly is more common in women who are young, early in their careers, in temporary employment, from under-represented or marginalised groups based on ethnicity, immigrant status, gender non-conformity or disability. Majority of perpetrators are men, who are older and enjoy the privilege of disproportionate power and in certain toxic male-dominated healthcare environments.
Two recent stories of sexual harassment in healthcare prompted many women to follow suit and share similar stories referring to flashbacks, post-traumatic stress, damage to careers, pressure to leave their job, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, brought about by their experiences. Yet there are examples of women as role models breaking down historical barriers such as Hilary and Chandi in their polar adventures.
Tackling such structural inequality requires remedies that go beyond incremental approaches focussed on individuals and include transformation of the organisational and societal climate by interventions, affirmative policies and courageous, compassionate leadership. Workplace sexual harassment and discrimination is unacceptable, not inevitable and needs to be eradicated.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
1 The Inside Story of the African American Explorer Who was the First Man to Stand on Top of the North Pole. Adventure. 2014.https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/the-legacy-of-arctic-explorer-matthew-henson (accessed 5 Jan 2022).
2 Trailblazer in the Arctic: A Tribute to the First African American to Reach Both Poles. The Arctic Institute. 2020.https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/trailblazer-arctic-tribute-first-african-american-reach-both-poles/ (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
3 Fleming S, Fisher R. Sexual assault in surgery: a painful truth. Bulletin 2021;103:282–5. doi:10.1308/rcsbull.2021.106
4 rcsbull.2022.pdf. https://publishing.rcseng.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1308/rcsbull.2022.5?download=true (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
5 Borumandnia N, Khadembashi N, Tabatabaei M, et al. The prevalence rate of sexual violence worldwide: a trend analysis. BMC Public Health 2020;20:1835. doi:10.1186/s12889-020-09926-5
6 Gender: definitions. https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/gender/gender-definitions (accessed 31 May 2021).
7 Sex Discrimination Act 1975. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/65/enacted (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
8 National Academies of Sciences E, Affairs P and G, Committee on Women in Science E, et al. Sexual Harassment Research. National Academies Press (US) 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519455/ (accessed 8 Jan 2022).
9 Townsend M, editor MTH affairs. Two-thirds of women in UK military report bullying and sexual abuse. The Observer. 2021.https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/25/two-thirds-of-women-in-uk-military-report-bullying-and-sexual-abuse (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
10 Rahman KS. Constructing and Contesting Structural Inequality. Critical Analysis of Law 2018;5.https://cal.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/cal/article/view/29507 (accessed 8 Jan 2022).
11 Healy G, Ahamed MM. Gender Pay Gap, Voluntary Interventions and Recession: The Case of the British Financial Services Sector. British Journal of Industrial Relations 2019;57:302–27. doi:10.1111/bjir.12448
12 New data on gender pay gap in medicine. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-data-on-gender-pay-gap-in-medicine (accessed 31 Aug 2020).
13 Frontiers | Editorial: New Perspectives on Domestic Violence: From Research to Intervention | Psychology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00641/full (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
14 News ABC. Nobel Prize Foundation under fire for rejecting ethnic, gender quotas. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/International/nobel-prize-foundation-fire-rejecting-ethnic-gender-quotas/story?id=80536436 (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
15 Bhalotra S, Brulé R, Roy S. Women’s inheritance rights reform and the preference for sons in India. Journal of Development Economics 2020;146:102275. doi:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.08.001
16 Annese L. If We Want To Prevent Sexual Harassment, We Need To Look At Racism And Homophobia Too. https://www.refinery29.com/en-au/2021/09/10662068/sexual-harassment-prevention-intersectionality (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
17 Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power - Heather McLaughlin, Christopher Uggen, Amy Blackstone, 2012. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0003122412451728 (accessed 5 Jan 2022).
18 Everyone’s business: Fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (2018) | Australian Human Rights Commission. https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/everyones-business-fourth-national-survey-sexual (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
19 Burn SM. The psychology of sexual harassment. Teaching of Psychology 2019;46:96–103. doi:10.1177/0098628318816183
20 Kahsay WG, Negarandeh R, Dehghan Nayeri N, et al. Sexual harassment against female nurses: a systematic review. BMC Nursing 2020;19:58. doi:10.1186/s12912-020-00450-w
21 Crenshaw K. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics. The University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989;140:139–67.https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/uchclf1989&div=10&id=&page=
22 Intersectionality Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intersectionality (accessed 8 Jan 2022).
23 Bondestam F, Lundqvist M. Sexual harassment in higher education – a systematic review. European Journal of Higher Education 2020;10:397–419. doi:10.1080/21568235.2020.1729833
24 Golden SH. The perils of intersectionality: racial and sexual harassment in medicine. J Clin Invest 2019;129:3465–7. doi:10.1172/JCI130900
25 #MeToo in EM: A Multicenter Survey of Academic Emergency Medicine Faculty on Their Experiences with Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment - PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32191183/ (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
26 Ryan AM, Gardner DM. Religious Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace. In: D’Cruz P, Noronha E, Caponecchia C, et al., eds. Dignity and Inclusion at Work. Singapore: : Springer 2021. 463–87. doi:10.1007/978-981-13-0218-3_16
27 Get To Know Us | History & Inception. me too. Movement. https://metoomvmt.org/get-to-know-us/history-inception/ (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
28 Sexual Violence and Intersectionality. Center for the Study of Women. https://csw.ucla.edu/cswresearch/sexual-violence-and-intersectionality/ (accessed 4 Jan 2022).
29 Calafell BM. “Did It Happen Because of Your Race or Sex?”: University Sexual Harassment Policies and the Move against Intersectionality. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 2014;35:75–95. doi:10.5250/fronjwomestud.35.3.0075
30 Buchanan NT, Fitzgerald LF. Effects of racial and sexual harassment on work and the psychological well-being of African American women. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2008;13:137–51. doi:10.1037/1076-89184.108.40.206
31 Agudelo-Suárez AA, Ronda-Pérez E, Gil-González D, et al. The effect of perceived discrimination on the health of immigrant workers in Spain. BMC Public Health 2011;11:652. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-652
32 Murphy J, Samples J, Morales M, et al. “They Talk Like That, But We Keep Working”: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Experiences Among Mexican Indigenous Farmworker Women in Oregon. J Immigrant Minority Health 2015;17:1834–9. doi:10.1007/s10903-014-9992-z
33 Gender disparities in clinical practice: are there any solutions? Scoping review of interventions to overcome or reduce gender bias in clinical practice | International Journal for Equity in Health | Full Text. https://equityhealthj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12939-020-01283-4 (accessed 23 Jan 2022).
34 Evidence-based recommendations for improved design of sexual harassment training | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Cambridge Core. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/industrial-and-organizational-psychology/article/abs/evidencebased-recommendations-for-improved-design-of-sexual-harassment-training/10A30EF219E4A459E940A7FAAD88AEB8 (accessed 23 Jan 2022).
35 Richardson BK, Taylor J. Sexual Harassment at the Intersection of Race and Gender: A Theoretical Model of the Sexual Harassment Experiences of Women of Color. Western Journal of Communication 2009;73:248–72. doi:10.1080/10570310903082065
36 Medeiros K, Griffith J. #Ustoo: How I-O psychologists can extend the conversation on sexual harassment and sexual assault through workplace training. Industrial and Organizational Psychology 2019;12:1–19. doi:10.1017/iop.2018.155
37 The transfer of training: what really matters - Grossman - 2011 - International Journal of Training and Development - Wiley Online Library. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2419.2011.00373.x (accessed 23 Jan 2022).
38 Wickelgren WA. Human Learning and Memory. ;:33.
39 Evidence-based recommendations for improved design of sexual harassment training | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Cambridge Core. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/industrial-and-organizational-psychology/article/abs/evidencebased-recommendations-for-improved-design-of-sexual-harassment-training/10A30EF219E4A459E940A7FAAD88AEB8 (accessed 23 Jan 2022).
40 Worthen MGF, Wallace SA. Intersectionality and Perceptions About Sexual Assault Education and Reporting on College Campuses. Family Relations 2017;66:180–96. doi:10.1111/fare.12240
41 Five lessons from the founder of the Me Too movement | Imperial News | Imperial College London. Imperial News. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/231994/five-lessons-from-founder-me-too/ (accessed 4 Jan 2022).