The TUC think 52% of women are sexually harassed at work – here’s why they’re wrong

Trying to decipher a report on workplace sexual harassment of women published this Monday by the TUC in conjunction with the Everyday Sexism Project may not be the most fun activity but it certainly provides an insight into what is considered ‘research’ by organisations with leftist agendas. The report itself is a curious mix of data and anonymous anecdote – the former derived from a YouGov poll and the latter from a survey of union members conducted by the TUC, with some emotive Everyday Sexism Project submissions thrown in for good measure.

It does not take a genius to work out that this report was produced by seriously biased researchers: it freely admits that ‘trade unionists have never been in any doubt about the scale of the problem’, and also states that the Everyday Sexism Project ‘has successfully highlighted the pervasiveness of sexism in society’. How? By ‘allowing for testimony to be given anonymously’. What stunning academic credentials.

Probably the most glaring failure of a study that is part of a patriarchal oppression narrative is that identical questions were not asked of men. This is particularly disingenuous for a report that lays on discussion of power with a trowel, feeding into the Duluth model of male violence towards women being a means to oppression and control, rather than a result of other factors.

The primary claim made by this research that 52% of women (and 63% of those aged between 18-24) experience sexual harassment in the workplace is what generated headlines earlier this week, and will have made an impression on many women. Most people will sense that this just does not sound right. So, how did they arrive at this figure? The 1533 strong group of respondents were asked whether they had experienced several types of unwanted sexual behaviour within the past 12 months or at any point in the past. Keep in mind that 3524 women were initially approached; there is an argument to be made that low response rates in such studies may be caused by non-victims being less likely to participate.

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As you can see, it appears that the figure of 52% has been achieved by including incidents that happened more than 12 months ago – poof goes the study’s title then: Still just a bit of banter? Sexual harassment in the workplace in 2016. The age breakdown of the final sample is never made clear – so we have no way of knowing exactly how long ago the majority of these incidents happened, for all we know they might all be as old as this story which was included in the report:

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But the most dishonest thing about this research is the questions that were asked. The vast majority of the 52% statistic is made up of women who reported incidents that involved people talking or joking about sex. The most commonly reported incident was ‘hearing colleagues making comments of a sexual nature about another woman or women in general’. So saying ‘I went for a drink with a sexy woman last night’ is literally harassing every woman in your workplace. The same goes for ‘unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature’; what does the ‘unwelcome’ part mean? It’s not harassment if you found the joke funny? If you actually fancy the guy who is trying to impress you with his sense of humour then it’s ok? I guess it means that it’s every individual woman’s right to decide what exactly does constitute ‘just a bit of banter’.

Respondents were also instructed to include behaviour of third parties as well as colleagues – no wonder younger women were more likely to be ‘victims’; working in a bar and overhear two punters talking about women they fancy? You are being harassed my friend. Can you imagine the media field day if a woman were brought before a tribunal for saying ‘Roger Federer is so sexy’ at work? Or discussing her sex life with friends at a bar or restaurant? Shudder.

At no point does it appear that these women were asked ‘were you sexually harassed at work’, and it looks like the answer from many women could well have been no. The authors admit that women are often ‘reluctant to name what happened as sexual harassment’ and also blithely state that using official data is ‘fruitless’ because most women don’t report – but hang on a minute, look at this:

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See that huge blue spike next to ‘none of the above’? Maybe that’s there because there was one option respondents were not able to tick – ‘it did not upset me and it was not important’. Maybe women who receive ‘unwelcome verbal sexual advances’ such as being asked out by a man they find unattractive do not get upset because they know that men do not have psychic capabilities that enable them to know whether their advances are welcome or not. These efforts to convince women that the world hates them are perverse. Is it any surprise that three days later a study like this comes out?

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It’s all so horribly circular – use bogus research to make women feel awful and then produce yet more obscene sounding statistics to exaggerate the problems you’ve caused. What’s the solution? More unionisation and feminist ‘training’ for employers, of course.

The truth is that best friends can call each other some of the worst names under the sun, and it’s possible to make someone feel worthless by saying good morning while looking at them as if they’re dirt. What is really damaging to young women is this sickening crusade to convince them they are entering a workplace that is not safe for them and where they will be disbelieved if they complain about something which they actually believe to be serious.


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