More Than Three Fifths of UK Women Bullied or Harassed at Work

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2nd April 2014 15:51 - Public Consultation

A recent survey of 25,000 women by the charity Opportunity Now and PwC, the professional service group, looked at discovering why women’s careers often stall between the ages of 28 and 40.

The survey, which is the largest ever UK study of women in the workplace, has discovered that more than half of women (52%) have fallen subject to bulling or harassment over the past three years, while a further 12% had been sexually harassed.

According to the survey there are, as of yet, no comparable figures for men, however, some males in focus groups said they had witnessed female colleagues being harassed. Women said they were often bullied by other female colleagues and line managers.

Other barriers preventing women from reaching the top include, the stigma attached to flexible working arrangements and fear of the high pressure, long hours and stress that comes with more senior roles.

However, the survey found that, while flexible work patterns such as part-time, term-time working and job sharing helped with work-life balance, almost two-thirds (64%) said those who did it were less likely to progress at the same rate as their peers.

Findings also suggest that half of women and two fifths (40%) of men, do not want the lifestyle of the senior people in their organisation, which they saw as involving long hour and high stress.

Debbie White, UK chief executive of caterer Sodexo, said:

“I am horrified but I think there are a number of things we can do about it: zero tolerance, you have to take decisive action. You have to make examples [of people]and I have no fear at all of doing that.”

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