Technically, sexual harassment can happen to anyone, but women are at elevated risk of having coworkers, supervisors or even customers and clients mistreat them in the workplace.
Sexual harassment could involve a quid pro quo scenario where a client offers to place a large order or a supervisor offers a raise or a promotion in return for sexual favors. Workplace sexual harassment can also look like team members, coworkers or even customers creating a hostile work environment for a woman.
Many women just accept sexual harassment as the cost of being a female working professional. They may try to soldier on because they don’t want to harm their reputation or careers. Unfortunately, ignoring sexual harassment often does more harm than good for the women involved. Why should women never ignore sexual harassment in the workplace?
1. Their careers will likely take a hit
More than a third of women responding to a survey about sexual harassment reported both that they left their jobs earlier than they intended because of harassment and that the harassment they experienced set back their career developments significantly.
Not only does the stress of workplace sexual harassment potentially take its toll on your mental health and also your physical health, but it can damage your confidence in yourself as a professional and prevent you from achieving your goals. When you report sexual harassment, you could be in a better position to protect your job and continue achieving your goals regardless of someone else’s misconduct.
2. Their harassers won’t stop
The unfortunate truth is that women need to speak up about harassment before leaving a business because if they don’t, more women will likely experience the exact same abuse at the hands of the same perpetrator.
It is only by speaking up after documenting misconduct in the workplace that women can change the culture at different businesses and in certain industries that are typically male-dominated. Those engaged in harassment could lose their jobs or may need to undergo counseling and educational services that will help them treat female coworkers with dignity in the future.
Standing up against sexual harassment in the workplace can be an intimidating choice, but for many women, it will be the right decision.