Seven in ten women workers have experienced ‘lewd jokes’ in the workplace, three in ten have been touched inappropriately, and one in ten have flat-out been asked for sex by coworkers, according to a new study that focused on female factory workers in Guangzhou. The survey concluded that one out of six female workers have left their jobs explicitly due to sexual harassment issues.
Sexual harassment isn’t exactly new to the Chinese workplace, but it still comes as an unpleasant shock to see the numbers. The New York Times’ excellent Sinosphere page went through the results and reports:
Forty-three percent said they “submitted” to the harassment, and 47 percent said they “resisted” it (no details were given how). Fifteen percent said they left their jobs because of harassment. They rarely tell their bosses why […]
Not one woman who took part in the survey by a non-governmental organization, the Sunflower Women Workers Center, said she had sought help from the state-run All-China Federation of Trade Unions or the All-China Women’s Federation, Hong Mei, the head of the center, said in a telephone interview. These groups were perceived as being ineffective, as were factory managers, she said.
“Their employers take no measures to prevent sexual harassment, communities offer no support to female victims and society as a whole lacks adequate awareness of the issue or deliberately avoids talking about it,” according to the introduction to the report on the survey, “The Sexual Harassment of Women Factory Workers in Guangzhou,” released Nov. 25.
“I wasn’t surprised by the results as it’s always been like this,” said Ms. Hong. “There are so many women facing this issue, and no one is helping them.”
The All-China Federation of Women, of course, is one of the most intentionally-useless organs of the Chinese government, despite having some pretty steep competition from, well, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. The sole purpose of both groups seems to be “status-quo at any cost” and their negligence to issues like sexual harassment (along with a huge number of other issues, both sexual and workplace-related) comes at a large cost to workers, women, working women, and women working.
[Image via Flickr]