A third of women say they have faced sexual harassment at work


More than a third of women have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a survey by a leading union.

The figure increased to 62% of women aged under 30, a sign that it remains a major issue in offices and workplaces across Britain. The survey was conducted by the Prospect union, which represents skilled workers from a range of industries in both the public and private sectors.

It was completed by 7,000 people, 40% of whom were female and 60% male. Respondents were drawn from the worlds of aviation, defence, energy, archaeology and heritage, the civil service and broadcasting. It found that 35% of women reported sexual harassment of various kinds, while some described losing jobs or being too intimidated to report the misconduct of colleagues.

More than a quarter were subjected to suggestive remarks or jokes of a sexual nature (27%), while a similar number (25%) were forced to endure unwanted comments about their appearance. Unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature was experienced by 17%, while 14% endured unwanted and inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing.

Of the women, reporting incidents of harassment, two thirds have heard suggestive remarks or jokes of a sexual nature in the last year, while a third have experienced inappropriate touching or hugging in that time. Some women described the harassment that they had suffered. One described “a male manager who used inappropriate comments and hugged and kissed females each time we had a team meeting”. Another described an “old boys’ club” culture, where the victim assumed harassment would not be taken seriously.

Another victim said when she complained, she was “made to feel like I was to blame by the investigating officer”. One respondent said: “I have lost a job after bringing up sexual harassment from a manager.”

Mike Clancy, the Prospect general secretary, said: “This survey was created so that we were able to engage with our members on unacceptable behaviours that are taking place across the UK’s workplaces.

“Prospect’s membership represents a cross-section of highly educated and highly skilled workers. The findings of this survey demonstrate that sexual harassment is endemic and takes place in all parts of the economy. That can’t be taken for granted and Prospect is committed to making this a mainstream issue that remains in the public consciousness.”


of women who took part in the survey said they had suffered sexual harassment in the workplace


of women under 30 said they had faced sexual harassment at work


said they had suffered unwanted touching, hugging and kissing


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