Zero Tolerance finds sexism and misogyny the norm in Scottish workplaces
A NEW REPORT from the Scottish charity Zero Tolerance (ZT) has shown that 70 per cent of respondents experienced or witnessed abuse and harassment in the workplace against women in Scottish workplaces.
Their research also showed that over a third, approximately 37 per cent, of respondents described having experienced gender-based bullying or teasing and an overwhelming majority were not aware of any proactively promoted Violence Against Women (VAW) policy in their workplace.
ZT said that the report, which received over 600 responses from individuals from across the public, private sector and third sector, showed that many Scottish women will still work in an environment where sexism and harassment are left unchecked.
“Ultimately this will benefit the employers too; those who spend some time and energy promoting a healthy and supportive workplace will retain talented staff, avoid litigation and lead a more productive team.” Amy Marshall
Amy Marshall, ZT’s educators and employers development officer said, “This research confirms what we already know; employers are still sometimes unable to pick up on the signs of abuse or appropriately assess the correct support mechanisms needed to challenge hostile attitudes to women.
“The responses do show a clear appetite however for change in the Scottish workforce, both from employers and employees. If employers take up the mantle and make some changes to their workplace, we could make real strides in creating a more gender-equal workforce.
“Ultimately this will benefit the employers too; those who spend some time and energy promoting a healthy and supportive workplace will retain talented staff, avoid litigation and lead a more productive team.”
73 per cent of respondents were either unsure or not aware of a Violence Against Women (VAW) policy in their workplace
VAW exists on a continuum ranging from sexist jokes and street harassment, to rape and femicide. Understanding this continuum needs recognition of the fact that discrete incidents do not occur in a vacuum but within a broader set of gendered social relations which both create and perpetuate gender inequality.
73 per cent of respondents were either unsure or not aware of a Violence Against Women (VAW) policy in their workplace and 31 per cent reported feeling either ‘unsure’ about their employer or certain that they would not be supported.
The report also showed that those who held responsibility to implement good practice and support employees still have gaps in their knowledge around violence against women policy. Only 26 per cent of those with managerial responsibilities reported confidence in taking the necessary next steps, with 17 per cent either unsure or completely uncertain about what the next steps were.
Previous studies in cooperation with the Scottish Government have shown that 1 in 3 women will experience violence at some point in their lives. The author of the ZT survey, Amy Marshall, hopes its findings will help employers recognise their obligation to women in terms of safety and rights. Additionally, they believe the research will help to delve deeper into the experiences of workers and employers in Scotland and find out what positive measures employers were taking to prevent sexism and misogynistic attitudes.
Picture courtesy of David Boyle
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