Sexual harassment in the workplace stems from many different things, and each case is unique. However, power imbalances often play heavily into the equation.
Experts have even gone so far as to say that this type of harassment is really just a “manifestation of power relations.” They note that this is often why women find themselves as the victims, with men as the perpetrators. You can find counter-examples to this, and anyone can be victimized. However, women traditionally find themselves getting harassed because they often have less power than men in the workplace.
That has been changing over the years. Women in 2020 have far more of a presence in the workplace than they did decades ago. But that’s not to say that the power is equal.
Take a look, for instance, at the gender pay gap. In 2019, statistics showed that women earned about $0.79 per every dollar men earned. Even when they held the same positions and did the same work, they earned less. They may also face discrimination that makes it harder for them to climb the corporate ladder than it is for men. All of this plays into the power imbalance, and it can in turn feed into the perpetuation of sexual harassment that targets women in the workplace.
This is a complex issue. At its root, though, it may feel very clear to you: You’re getting targeted and suffering sexual or other harassment due to your gender. If this happens, it is crucial that you know what rights you have and what legal options you have.