Media release: Survey reveals a third of woman working in the Scottish media saying they have been sexually harassed


A THIRD of women working in the Scottish media claim they have been sexually harassed in the workplace, according to a new survey.

Research carried out by campaigning group Women in Journalism Scotland (WiJ Scotland) also found almost half alleging they have experienced sexist behaviour in the workplace more than three times, while a shocking one in ten said they had been sexually assaulted in their office.

A total of 177 women working in media and communications in Scotland responded to the survey, which was carried out following the creation of the global #MeToo movement. A third worked in print media and a quarter in broadcasting. The NUJ has around 800 female members in Scotland.

Of the respondents to the WiJ Scotland survey, 30 per cent said that they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, half of those more than three times. Elsewhere, 27 per cent said they had put up with unwanted sexual advances up to three times, while 48 per cent had experienced lewd or sexist behaviour on more than three occasions and 59 per cent said lewd or sexist language had been used in their presence more than three times.

Worryingly, almost one in ten said they had experienced what they defined as sexual assault in the workplace.

More than two thirds of those sexually harassed did not make a complaint: 38 per cent because they worried it would negatively affect their career, 19 per cent because they worried it would not be taken seriously, and 11 per cent because they felt that the HR mechanism to deal with it was inadequate. Of those who complained, only one in four felt it was dealt with to their satisfaction.

In addition, 19 per cent said there were no women in roles more senior to theirs in the organisation they worked for, while only just over half said there were more than three.

With regards to the often toxic online environment, a third of respondents said abusive or threatening comments had been directed against them online and on social media.

Libby Brooks, co-chair of WiJ Scotland said: “Sadly, it comes as no great surprise that media and communications suffer the same endemic levels of sexism and sexual harassment as all other industries. The situation is compounded, as in other industries, by the fact that most senior roles in the media are still occupied by men.

“However, given that it is our job to investigate, report and translate events to the wider public, it’s especially important that these stories are not presented through a filter that is hostile to women.

“All employers have a responsibility to ensure that their workplaces are safe and equal environments to work in. But it is up to individuals of both sexes not to enable or collude in this sort of behaviour through their silence.

“As regards the findings about online abuse, we look forward to more discussion about the recent report on Scotland’s hate crime laws, commissioned by the Scottish government, which recommended new provisions to tackle sexist online bullying.”


Notes to editor:

The vast majority of respondents were white, able-bodied and aged between 25 and 54.

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