1992’s workforce knew very well what constituted sexual harassment. What was tolerated then is unacceptable now.
Inappropriate behaviour in some high-profile environments is headline news today, but it has long been a matter for concern. 25 years ago in 1992, the vast majority of public had a clear view about what constituted sexual harassment. There was little disagreement about what was problematic, even it was tolerated. Close to 90% of both female and male workers considered both sexual talk and inappropriate physical contact to be sexual harassment.
The most-cited reasons behind it also come as little surprise in today’s context: the failure of men to understand what women find offensive, and men seeing women as sex objects. Understandably, women were clearer on these reasons than men.
These findings come from a survey that MORI was commissioned to undertake in September 1992 by the General Municipal Boilermakers’ Union (GMB) as part of the GMB’s campaign to raise the level of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace.
This survey and many others can be found in the Archive for Market and Social Research (AMSR), a new national resource being established for all those interested in market and social research. It will be useful to users and suppliers; to media organisations; and to students of the history of social attitudes and consumer behaviour as well as the history of research.