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Most Americans know sexual harassment is a problem but don’t expect bosses to fix it

Most Americans know sexual harassment is a problem but don’t expect bosses to fix it
[Photo: Nastuh Abootalebi/Unsplash]

Despite the outpouring of workplace sexual harassment and assault allegations that continue to dominate headlines, only 49% of Americans  believe male business leaders need to speak out and set better examples, according to a nationally representative survey this month of over 2,000 U.S. working adults by branding agency Berlin Cameron, the Female Quotient, and Harris Poll. Only a narrow majority (52%) say companies need to be the first line of defense against sexual misconduct within their own walls.

That’s despite a large chunk of the American workforce appreciating the scale of the problem: 47% of respondents said they were “not surprised by how many women came out and said they have been sexually assaulted.” While more women have been unsurprised by the volume of the accusations than men (52% vs. 41%), it begs two questions: Why don’t more people believe that companies–and the men who overwhelmingly run them–need to do more? And why do so few (28% of women and 25% of men) think more women leaders will help?

There’s one potential bright spot: Even though many remain unconvinced that employers and leaders have bigger roles to play, more people are optimistic about making headway with future generations. The second most endorsed solution, after more responsive HR departments, was rethinking how gender norms are taught to kids.

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