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Attitudes regarding sexual harassment at work: 1976 vs. 2016

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When it comes to sexual harassment at work, how much have our attitudes changed over the years? The results of two identical questionnaires conducted twice - once in 1976 and again in 2016 - give us a glimpse into the changing attitudes of women in the workplace.

In 1976, Redbook magazine published a questionnaire called "Sex On The Job" and invited readers to respond. More than 9,000 women responded to the questionnaire, which asked about their experiences and attitudes regarding sexual harassment at work. Some of the questions included:

"Which of the following have you experienced with male co-workers or supervisors? (Circle letters of all answers that apply.)"

A: Leering or ogling

B: Sexual remarks or teasing

C: Subtle sexual hints and pressures

D: Touching, brushing against, grabbing, pinching

E: Invitations to a date, with the implication that refusing may count against you

F: Sexual propositions, with the implication that refusing may count against you

G: Sexual relations, with the implication that refusing may count against you

H: Other forms of sexual harassment

I: No sexual harassment at all"

" In getting a job, how important do you think your physical attractiveness was?

A: More important than my other qualifications

B: Equally important

C: Less important

D: Unimportant"

You can see the entire 1976 questionnaire. Over the years, the survey results have been cited in hundreds of academic articles.

Comparing Survey Results

Here are a few examples of survey responses in 1976 and 2016:

· In 1976: 92 percent of respondents answered that they saw sexual harassment as a problem

· In 2016, 99 percent of respondents answered that they saw sexual harassment as a problem

· In 1976: 15 percent of respondents said that they found unwelcome attention at work to be flattering

· In 2016: 4 percent of respondents said that they found unwelcome attention at work to be flattering

· In 1976: 1 in 3 women said that, when it comes to getting hired, their appearance was as important as their other qualifications

· In 2016: 1 in 5 women said that, when it comes to getting hired, their appearance was as important as their other qualifications

· In 1976: 33 percent of women say that they pretend not to notice signs of sexual harassment

· In 2016: 24 percent of women say that they pretend not to notice signs of sexual harassment

In 1976 and 2016: Nearly half of all respondents stated that they (or someone they know) have quit a job or been fired due to sexual harassment.

These responses indicate an attitude shift. When comparing 1976 responses to 2016 responses, women are less tolerant of sexual harassment.

But despite shifting attitudes, sexual harassment is still a major problem in workplaces across the country. When employers refuse to address the issue and put a stop to sexual harassment, they can be held accountable. Victims should speak to an employment law attorney about their specific legal options.

Free consultation: If you have experienced sexual harassment at work and wish to speak to an employment attorney, please call us at 213-342-6977.

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