Around 40% of women media professionals around the world have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work, a new joint study by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Women in News and City, University of London has revealed .
Yet only one in five victims of verbal or physical sexual harassment, or both, reports the abuse, according to the published report Global Research on Sexual Harassment in the Media on Wednesday at a virtual news conference.Nevertheless, the approach taken by the media houses is disappointing. The study found that a reprimand for the offender is the most common form of punishment for media managers.
Colleagues the main culprits
Colleagues (39.3 percent) were identified as the main culprits , followed by line managers (19 percent) and higher management (18.9 percent).
The study surveyed 2,005 men, women and gender-non-inclusive media professionals from 20 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Eurasia, the Arab region and selected Central America between November 2020 and September 2021. Among those surveyed were 85 executives.
Women were affected
It turns out that women and gender-biased journalists are almost three and a half times more likely to be affected than men.
According to the results, an average of 12% of men report being victims of verbal or physical sexual harassment. Others suffer from both.
Overall, 30 percent of all media workers surveyed have been abused.
And while sexual harassment affects media workers’ productivity, the study revealed a worrying attitude among media managers. That three out of four executives surveyed did not consider sexual harassment to be a problem.
“Women and non-gender people are disproportionately affected by sexual harassment in the media space. While we know this anecdotally, the results of this research show that sexual harassment is an endemic problem in the industry — regardless of region,” said Melanie Walker, Executive Director of Women in News.
She added : “It’s up to the industry to address this issue by taking a clear stand against sexual harassment and having the policies and tools to manage incidents when they do occur, to protect their employees, and to provide a safe environment for all.”
In Africa, 575 media professionals from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe were surveyed.
Researchers found that every second person has experienced sexual harassment at work. About 56 percent experienced verbal and 38 percent physical harassment. Despite this, only 21 reported the crimes and in 57 percent of the cases their organizations took action.
For Southeast Asia, where 494 of the professionals from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam participated in the study, one in three became Woman sexually harassed.
Most (45%) were verbally abused and 24% were physically abused. Despite this, only 15 percent of them have raised their grievances with their management.
It’s similar in Central America. A total of 234 media workers from Nicaragua and El Salvador were interviewed, and three out of five women reported being victims of sex crimes.
The data shows that 74% experienced verbal harassment and 43% physical harassment at attacks. Only 26 percent reported their abuse, and in 46 percent of the cases, action was taken against the perpetrators.
In Russia, 176 professionals were interviewed, and the researchers found that one in four women had faced sexual harassment. Of those sampled, 35% had been subjected to verbal harassment and 17% to physical abuse.
On average, 25.5% of cases were reported and action was taken in 62% of cases.
To address the problem at media houses, the researchers recommend that all employees have a clearly defined sexual harassment policy so they know how to identify and report criminal offenses.< /p>
They also suggest training media managers on how to resolve the complaints “in a respectful manner”.
At the same time, they identify the conduct of an anonymous internal survey to determine the extent of the problem as another way media organizations can take action against sexual harassment.