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Why is sexual harassment prevalent in the workplace?

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When it comes to sexual harassment, most people look to the individual perpetrators as the direct cause of any issues in the workplace. While this is not necessarily untrue, it does not allow for anyone to gauge the entire picture or scope of the problem. Sexual misconduct may not be simply the act of one person.

To remove sexual harassment from the workplace, Huffington Post explains, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine take a more comprehensive route. There are a couple of reasons that a workplace may see a higher rate of harassment than other occupations.

Some workplaces have more men than women

In organizations where men outnumber women, sexual harassment tends to be more predominant. Tech and banking, for instance, have a higher chance of harassment. In some companies, there may be outings where women feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. When there are more men than women, women may not trust the human resources department. Those who see harassment occur despite it not directly affecting them may also struggle.

Some workplaces have a culture that discourages women

There have been several high-profile sexual harassment cases over the last few years. Many of these cases involved men who harassed women throughout a long career and suffered no consequences for it. The women worked in an environment where they feared retaliation if they were to speak up against the harasser. They did not believe that the company would punish the harassers. The perpetrators may feel as though they have permission to act this way because there is never any punishment.