Leadership

Sexual Harassment Doubles In Australian Workplaces

An Australian Human Rights Commission survey reveals the number of women being sexually harassed at work has doubled in the past six years.

By Emily Brooks

Leadership

An Australian Human Rights Commission survey reveals the number of women being sexually harassed at work has doubled in the past six years.

By Emily Brooks

The number of women being sexually harassed at work has doubled in the past six years and the worst industry is the media.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has found harassment is “widespread and pervasive” with two in five women claiming they had been sexually harassed at work in the past five years.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, who appeared as part of the Future Women launch campaign, told The Australian Financial Review the figures were unacceptable “and have increased significantly since the last survey in 2012.”

“The findings are more timely and relevant today than ever before, with the huge surge in public concern about sexual harassment generated by the #MeToo movement and the willingness of people to say that they too have been affected.”

The report shows the number of women sexually harassed has risen from 21 per cent to 39 per cent in six years and two in five women said they had been harassed between April and June.

And the victims were most likely to be aged 18 to 29.

Illustration: Patti Andrews Image credit: Dave Wheeler

The survey found a staggering 81 per cent of employees in the media industry had experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years. This was followed by arts and recreation at 49 per cent, utilities at 47 per cent and retail at 42 per cent.

Financial services came in sixth at 39 per cent while construction and real estate services were the least likely industries to experience sexual harassment, at 17 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

The results follow the prominence of the #MeToo movement which began late last year following the allegations of systematic abuse by Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Commissioner Jenkins will address the National Press Club today and the full speech will be available to Future Women members.

The sexual harassment results will inform the AHRC’s upcoming national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace, a world first for which public consultations start next month.

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