43 percent of Canadian women sexually harassed at work, poll shows

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      Women are almost four times as likely as men to be sexually harassed in the workplace.

      That's according to a new Angus Reid Institute online survey of over 1,500 Canadian adults.

      Forty-three percent of female respondents reported being targeted by sexual harassment at work, compared to only 12 percent of men.

      In terms of "unwanted contact" in the office, 20 percent of women and nine percent of men reported this.

      "For the purposes of this survey, sexual harassment was defined as ‘unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal (non-touching) conduct of a sexual nature’. Although technically sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact (unwanted contact) was defined as ‘anything from an unwanted quick sexual touch to more serious unwanted physical sexual contact’," ARI states in a news release.

      ARI also says: "While the ARI survey results indicate real and significant experiences of sexual harassment and unwanted contact in the workplace for both Canadian women and men, it also shows most are choosing not to speak about this behavior to their employers. Indeed, four out of five of those respondents indicating they’d been harassed, or worse, said they never reported it."

      More than four in 10 respondents who experienced sexual harassment or unwanted contact indicated that they preferred to "deal with it on their own". Other top reasons given for not reporting incidents included "Felt the issue was too minor", "Didn’t think the employer would respond well", "Embarrassed by what happened", and "Not sure it was harassment".

      The survey also asked Canadians to identify "appropriate behavior" in the office. The following were named the "least acceptable behaviors":

      • Reading pornographic magazines during a lunch break (5% said “acceptable”)
      • A boss kissing the cheek of an employee (20% said “acceptable”)
      • Telling ‘off colour’ jokes (20% said “acceptable”)
      • Wearing ‘sexy’ clothing (27% said “acceptable”)
      • Calling a co-worker’s outfit sexy (27% said “acceptable”)
      • Standing very close to a co-worker in their personal space (28% said “acceptable”)
      • An unmarried boss asking a single employee for a date (31% said “acceptable”)
      • Kissing the cheek of a co-worker (34% said “acceptable”)
      • Giving a colleague a shoulder rub (34% said “acceptable”)

      ARI found "notable differences when you examine the acceptability ratings across age/sex groupings".

      "Overall, these results show that men tend to be more accepting of a number of workplace behaviours than women," ARI states. "There is also a sizeable generation gap with older Canadians less comfortable than their younger counterparts with many of the behaviors we looked at."

      Check out the full results of the survey on the ARI website.