More than half of women living in the United Kingdom have been sexually harassed at work, a new study finds.
The British women experienced groping, sexual advances and inappropriate jokes, according to researchers from the Trades Union Congress and the Everyday Sexism Project.
The report published Wednesday shows that 80 percent of the women did not inform their employers of the incidents fearing they would harm their relationships at work.
“The numbers are shocking and it should be a wake up-call,” Alice Hood, head of equality at TUC told Reuters. “Sexual harassment is still a really big problem for women in the workplace. It’s certainly not gone away.”
“Maybe it’s happening on email or social media – but it’s still harassment and it still has a really humiliating effect on people experiencing it,” she added.
Almost one in five women said the perpetrator was their direct supervisor, while about a quarter said they felt they would not be taken seriously or believed if they reported their harassment.
According to the TUC, the problem was worse for younger women aged 16-24, with almost two-thirds of them saying they have suffered sexual harassment at work.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the problem “is undermining, humiliating and can have a huge effect on mental health.”
Angela Rayner, a Labour spokeswoman, said the UK government is not providing adequate protection for women.
She noted that “sexual harassment is discrimination,” therefore; perpetrators must feel there would be consequences.
The TUC is calling on the UK government to scrap £1,200 fees for employment tribunals, as it believes the fees would restrict access to justice for women.