How Culture Can Prevent Sexual Harassment

6 min

Building an inclusive culture at your company or on your team can prevent sexual harassment.

But what are some characteristics of a noninclusive culture where sexual harassment is likely to happen?

Companies that are male dominated, that don’t have women in leadership roles, or that have a hyper-masculine culture, tend to have more sexual harassment than those that don’t.

In 2017 to 2018 alone, four members of the US Congress (which is 80% male), announced that they would retire or not seek reelection because of sexual harassment claims made against them.

And noninclusive cultures often tend to be more permissive of sexual harassment: “high performers” or “stars” (usually men) are often allowed to continue sexually harassing.

Uber was at the center of a sexual harassment scandal when it was revealed that after an engineer complained to HR about harassment from her manager, they refused to investigate because of his productivity.

But in inclusive cultures, sexual harassment is less likely to happen or be permitted.


People have more respect for their coworkers and feel more free to report inappropriate behavior when it does happen.

If you feel like your team or company culture is noninclusive, think about things you can do to turn it around.

For example, you could encourage the hiring and promotion of women, or call out double standards for “star” employees.

Time for a quiz.


Tilda wants the team that she’s a member of to be a place where people feel safe from sexual harassment and bullying. What’s a reason she should focus on culture?

Quiz 1 of 1

Tilda wants the team that she’s a member of to be a place where people feel safe from sexual harassment and bullying. What’s a reason she should focus on helping to build an inclusive culture?

a
Inclusive cultures are less permissive of sexual harassment than noninclusive ones.
b
Inclusive cultures are more likely to have feminist ideals, which counter sexual harassment.
c
Inclusive cultures allow people to express romantic feelings more freely, which leads to fewer misunderstandings about sex.
d
Inclusive cultures allow women and minorities the freedom to take on sexual harassment without the help of majority allies.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP:

Look at your team or company's culture. Are there any indicators that it might be inclusive or noninclusive?

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