But men and women view the issue of sexual harassment differently
Americans have made up their minds about the allegations of sexual harassment surrounding Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer and deposed head of The Weinstein Company. Only 2% say those allegations are false. 71% say they are true, while the rest aren’t sure. Looking only at the 58% in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll who are following the charges at least somewhat closely, there is even more certainty. Nearly nine in ten in that group believe the allegations, just 1% do not.
Of the nearly 50 women accusing Weinstein of harassment, some go back nearly three decades. [There have also been charges of rape and sexual assault, but those were not specified in the Economist/YouGov questions.] Sexual harassment continues to be part of the American workplace – and not just in Hollywood. There is little indication from the poll results that the problem is any less severe than in the past. More than one in four say there is ”a lot” of sexual harassment in the American workplace today. That’s slightly more than said this in a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted in September 2016.
Women are more likely than men to recognize harassment. About a third of women see a lot of harassment today, compared with one in five men who see a lot of harassment in the workplace. That’s about the same percentage of men who said that when they were asked the same question in a 1995 Virginia Slims Poll. More today than a year ago think there is a lot of harassment in the workplace.
When the public looks back 20 years, they report that things have not changed for very much. And any change the public does see is not always for the better. While more think there is less harassment in the workplace now than there was 20 years ago, that’s primarily the opinion of men. Women are slightly more likely to say things have gotten worse, not better.
Nearly one in three women say they have been harassed personally at work. Just over one in ten men say the same about themselves. This is another question where reported harassment has risen in recent years. In the summer of 2010, a Vanity Fair/60 Minutes Poll found fewer reporting personal harassment than in the current poll.
Women between the ages of 30 and 64 are the most likely to report harassment at work. And the more education a women has, the more likely she is to report she has been sexually harassed in this poll. In fact nearly half of women whose education goes beyond a college degree say they have been sexually harassed in the workplace.
One thing has changed: 59% believe that women are more likely to report sexual harassment today than did so 20 years ago. Men and women agree.