The Nature, Pervasiveness and Manifestations of Sexual Harassment in Rural Australia: Does 'Masculinity' of Workplace Make a Difference?

40 Women's Studies International Forum 121-131 (2013)

Posted: 19 Jul 2013 Last revised: 28 Sep 2018

See all articles by Skye Sanders

Skye Sanders

Australian National University (ANU)

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Research has shown that hostile environments can be a particular problem for women working in traditional male jobs such as policing and defence forces or where they are employed on remote work sites with residential arrangements. These ‘masculinity’ marked workplaces have a high incidence of sexual harassment. Australia's rural region has an ethos of male dominance. The increased exodus of young women from rural communities could intensify the ‘masculine’ culture that saturates rural areas. Given these factors, plus an expected prevalence of occupations with token female representation, we expected to find pervasive sexual harassment as evidenced by both group or pack sexual harassment and the normalisation of a variety of sexual harassment manifestations. To test this hypothesis and to find out more about the nature of sexual harassment in remote Australia, a sample of women employees and employers from 101 workplaces in different parts of remote and regional Australia were interviewed. We found that many of the respondents experienced or observed both ‘one-on-one’ harassment and ‘pack-on-one’ harassment. These behaviours were more common in the traditionally defined masculine occupations like agriculture/horticulture and mining. We did not find a positive correlation between remoteness and sexual harassment with respondents from the most remote areas tending to be from professional occupations.

Keywords: Sexual Harassment, Rural Workplaces, Masculinity, Sexually Permeated Workplaces

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Sanders, Skye and Easteal, Patricia L., The Nature, Pervasiveness and Manifestations of Sexual Harassment in Rural Australia: Does 'Masculinity' of Workplace Make a Difference? (2013). 40 Women's Studies International Forum 121-131 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295364

Skye Sanders

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

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