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    Male/Female Differences in Perceptions of Sexual Harassment Essay

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    Male/Female Differences in Perceptions of Sexual Harassment EssayOne of your male co-workers has a revealing photograph of a female onhis desk at work.

    You ask him to remove the picture because it makes you feeluncomfortable. He does not remove the picture. Do you think this is a form ofsexual harassment? According to Bertha Brooks, a speaker on the subject ofsexual harassment, this scenario exhibits a form of sexual harassment. For manypeople sexual harassment implies different behaviors; there are people whobelieve this scenario would be far from any type of harassment. This study investigates the different perceptions of how men and womendefine sexual harassment.

    It may be a simple look, slight touch, or a verbalcomment. Whatever the situation, there will be a variance in the degrees, as towhat men and women constitute as being sexual harassment. “Psychological textson sexual harassment outline various forms of behavior ranging from quid pro quodemands for sexual services to hostile jokes and sexual innuendo” (AmericanPsychological Association, 1981, 1991). “Sexual joking, touching, and patting may be considered unwelcome sexualattention to some, but not others” (Gutek, Morasch, and Cohen, 1983).

    Womenmore often than men conclude that these forms of sexual harassment are seriousand offending. Is there a difference between what men perceive as sexual harassment andwhat women consider sexual harassment? The purpose of this study is todetermine if in fact there is a difference. According to earlier research, menand women would perceive and define sexual harassment differently (Ellison v. Brady, 1989). “The findings that women define sexual harassment more broadlyand inclusive than men is reliable” (Ellison v. Brady).

    “A significantdifference between the sexes shows up both in surveys of working people and inscenario studies; fifty-nine percent of men rated sexual touching as sexualharassment whereas eighty-four percent of women” (Dunwoody-Miller and Gutek,1985). This study was conducted on a small northeast public college campus byfour experimental psychology students. Before the actual research was done,twenty males and twenty females were pre-tested to see if the questionnaire,that was to be used for the actual research was a valid measure; one that wouldprove differences in perceptions between males and females beliefs on sexualharassment. After the data was collected, the researchers moved forward becausethey found differences between men and women.

    A total of one hundred subjectswere then randomly chosen to participate in this study. They were given aquestionnaire where they had to rate sexual harassment on a scale when givendifferent scenarios. Previous research has uncovered gender-based differences in a variety ofsexual harassment related issues. For example, “females are much more likelythan males to report that they experienced some form of unwelcome sexualattention” (United States Merit Systems Protection Board, 1980, 1988).

    Moreover,females consistently define more social-sexual behaviors as sexual harassmentthan do males; Females believe that sexual harassment is a more frequentoccurrence (Ronrod & Gutek, 1986). The terrain of events called “sexual harassment” by some women andcalled “normal” or “acceptable” by men is vast. Women generally state that thesubtle forms of sexual harassment are just as serious than the more extreme andobvious forms. Men and women often perceive sexual harassment situationsdifferently (Gutek, 1985). As a result of our research the hypothesis of thisstudy was: Men and women will not always agree on what constitutes sexualharassment.Women will perceive milder forms of harassment more than men..

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