How Women in Leadership Roles Can Help Curb Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment

For many years, men at workplaces have thought they’re somehow entitled to their female colleagues’ bodies. Statistics suggest that hundreds of Americans are victimized by sexual violence every day. In an office setting, 1 in 5 people suffer sexual and psychological abuse. 

A 2023 news report by the BBC was too disturbing to fathom. In a shocking event, female trainee surgeons reported that they were being sexually assaulted and raped while performing surgeries in an operating theater. 

But why do you think all of that happens? Well, it’s simple. Violence against women gives men sexual gratification. 

Some also say that the unequal power equations at the workplace and improper brand values strongly influence this issue. Harvard Business Review reports that most sexual harassment programs backfire because of the lack of female leaders in workplaces. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the challenges women leaders face, how to curb sexual harassment, and more.

Do Female Leaders Face Challenges?

Earlier, men dominated the American workforce. Thankfully, recent changes have made it easier for women to feel represented. As of 2022, 56.80% of female employees were part of the labor force.

Even with such opportunities, women still face significant challenges and discrimination. They are usually stuck in entry-level roles. However, some who secure a leadership position face the following issues:

  • Unconscious bias from both men and women
  • Unequal pay due to the gender pay gap
  • Unrealistic expectations that are difficult to meet
  • Lack of female mentors in higher leadership roles

Female leaders also face gender-based discrimination or harassment. But thankfully, they have the power to do something about it and make the workplace safer. 

Either way, companies must promote women’s representation in decision-making and leadership positions. Doing so will significantly help the organization combat sexual harassment. 

How Can Women in Leadership Roles Stop Workplace Harassment?

Gender bias is a sign of male supremacy. Therefore, women in positions of power and influence can effectively eradicate this bias and offer equal opportunities for all.

Women in leadership roles will also be a beacon of inspiration for female employees. They’ll have the expertise and power to eradicate the unique obstacles women face in the workplace. For instance, they’ll have a first-hand understanding of the issues and work towards creating strategies to combat these gender-related barriers. 

Female leaders will battle the patriarchy head-on and emerge victorious. They’ll do that because of the following reasons:

#1. They Can Develop Stringent Policies

The ongoing battle against sexual harassment can only be won if women make company policies. These leaders will create an employee handbook devoted to preventing this issue. It’ll contain the following: 

  • The definition of harassment and what it means
  • Explained procedures for filing complaints
  • The consequences and non-tolerance for such behavior
  • Established protocols for every employee to follow

Women leaders will also take stringent actions against employees they receive complaints against. That’s because they won’t make pre-assumptions before performing a thorough investigation. 

The company will also attract female employees when they see a diverse leadership panel.

#2. They Don’t Need Sexual Harassment Training

Companies conduct sexual harassment training for supervisors and managers. Usually, these courses are geared toward men. 

However, women leaders won’t need separate sessions to understand the intricacies of workplace harassment. They’ll know exactly what this issue entails and ways to prevent it. Female employees will also find a safe space to complain about gender inequality problems. 

For instance, some men in leadership roles don’t understand what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. That’s why women often refrain from speaking up. Thankfully, a female leader will see all the signs without requiring any training. 

Women in leadership roles will completely shift the cultural set-up and eradicate sexual harassment at its core. 

#3. They’ll Focus on Collaboration Without Bias

Countless incompetent men end up landing leadership roles just because of their gender. In this men-choosing-men environment, a female leader can be a ‘breath of fresh air.’ They’ll tip the equilibrium by eradicating bias and gender discrimination.

Men working under these powerful leaders will have no choice but to respect them and follow protocol. Unlike men, women won’t discriminate in the workforce because of their gender. Instead, they’ll use close collaboration to deal with company issues. 

For instance, they’ll help set the tone by creating open-door policies. That means female employees will speak up against abuse. Women won’t be scared about being judged, and men will understand the right code of conduct.

All in all, female leaders will have a good relationship with employee representatives. Building a collaborative atmosphere is crucial to ensuring that workplace harassment remains unacceptable. 

What Should Working Women Do When They’re Sexually Harassed?

Even with female leaders in place, women will still face gender discrimination and harassment. Therefore, they should follow these tips to seek justice:

Start by Hiring or Consulting a Lawyer to Seek Justice

TorHoerman Law states that sexual assault or harassment can be considered a personal injury case. If the victim wants to file a lawsuit against the harasser, they’ll need personal injury lawyers in their city or state to represent them. 

Let’s say the victim lives in Chicago, Illinois (IL). That means they’ll have to find attorneys who have passed the Chicago Bar Association’s (CBA) examinations. They also need to ensure that the lawyers are familiar with the sexual harassment laws in the city. 

In general, personal injury attorneys in Chicago, IL, can help women gather the entitled compensation for emotional and physical damages. These lawyers are usually dedicated to their clients and maintaining their integrity. However, women should choose one based on their reputation, success history, and fee structure. 

It’s Crucial to Gather Proof

Sexual harassment is prohibited in American workplaces under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even then, women are being harassed. But most of them don’t speak up because there might not be any proof. Yes, the evidence of sexual harassment plays a crucial role. 

Thankfully, a personal injury lawyer will help alleviate the burden of evidence in such cases. They’ll ask the woman to gather substantial evidence to prove the following points: 

  • The victim was subjected to unwanted sexual requests
  • No action was taken by the company’s higher management
  • The harasser asked for sexual favors for job benefits
  • It negatively impacted the victim’s mental health

Women will need text messages, recordings, video proof, and a paper trail. Witness statements from co-workers and medical reports can also help. 

In summary, women in leadership roles have a long way to go. Forbes suggests there is a huge decline in women working in senior leadership roles because of gender parity issues. For instance, it wasn’t until 2022 that America chose the first female vice president. 

That’s exactly why we need increased visibility of female talent in higher roles. Women’s leadership programs can also help them achieve career mobility. Female leaders can easily develop policies and take strict action against sexual harassment. 

Even with all this, sexual harassment can take place in the workplace. If that happens, women should gather proof and consult a lawyer. At the end of the day, it’s men’s mentality that women leaders have to change. 


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