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Sexual Harassment of Professional Women:. Megan J. Moore and Connie T. Poster presented at the 3rd annual meeting of. This poster is based on a senior thesis completed by Megan J. Please address all correspondence to:. Megan Moore at mjm2e mtsu. Study 2 found some support for the notion that women who appear to be more egalitarian may be more likely to be the recipients of sexually harassing behaviors.
Study 2 also found that men who scored higher on a sexism scale were more likely to say they would engage in sexually harassing or negative behaviors toward professional women than men scoring lower on a sexism scale.
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Sexual harassment tends to strike highly educated women in traditionally male-dominated professions. Rosenberg et al. Dall and Maass provide experimental evidence minimizing the concern that professional women simply report sexual harassment more than nonprofessional women.
They found that a woman described as egalitarian an ant was more likely to be sexually harassed than a woman described as traditional an elementary school teacher. Why are professional women in nontraditional careers more likely to be sexually harassed?
Gutek and Morasch argue that sexual harassment operates according to this theory particularly when gender is salient. Perhaps women in nontraditional jobs are also projecting nontraditional sex role beliefsthus further threatening men's dominance. Fiske et al. In Price Waterhouse v.
There is a lack of research where experimenters have elicited the impression that a woman violates or complies with sex role expectations and, in turn, whether sexual harassment is a response to that impression. The present studies were deed to address these two questions:.
The first question is addressed in Study 1 and the second in Study 2, a scenario study.
STUDY 1. Research literature indirectly suggests that women who are wearing dark colored, masculine clothing e.
Similarly, women who have longer hair and are dressed in lighter, more feminine e. The present study tested this hypothesis by creating computer generated images of women matching the above descriptions. Two other pictures that will not be discussed here were also used in this study. Five of those participants received extra credit for their participation. The men filled out the Modern Sexism Scale Swim et al. Additionally, the men were given one of the 4 pictures of women Figures and presented with a packet of five hypothetical scenarios see Appendix for an example. Male participants were asked to imagine themselves involved in each scenario with the woman pictured as the female professional i.
Following each scenario, five alternative courses of action were listed, one of which was an explicitly sexually harassing behavior. Participants were asked to indicate the likelihood of performing each of the behaviors on a Likert type scale with higher s indicating a likelihood to do the action.
The scenarios were presented in random order and the sexism scales were randomly presented before or after the scenarios. Across all analyses conducted, several findings were of note and the most interesting will be summarized here. There were no ificant findings when collapsing across scenario. An SNK post hoc test indicated that the second most egalitarian woman Figure 2 was more likely than any of the other three to be sexually harassed see Table 1. A median split on modern sexism scores yielded no ificant main effect, nor was there an interaction between picture and MS.
This same pattern of was found for the ASI overall as well as both its benevolent sexism subscale and hostile sexism subscale. No ificant findings of note were found for the sexual harassment behavior for the other 4 scenarios.
In examining the other possible non-sexually harassing behaviors for each scenario, we found no ificant effects for the surgeon or author scenarios, but a few ificant findings for the lab assistant, lawyer and biology professor scenarios. In each case, the finding was such that high sexists as scored by one or more of the scales would be more likely to engage in a negative behavior toward the woman than low sexists. indicate that participants were more willing to engage in a sexually harassing behavior toward a biology professor when she was illustrated by picture of a woman rated as more egalitarian rather than a more traditionally rated picture.
This ificant main effect provides some partial support for the hypothesis that women who simply appear egalitarian will be more likely to be sexually harassed. One reason this particular scenario may have yielded while the others did not is that the biology professor scenario may have seemed more real to the male college students involved and, thus, elicited slightly more honest responding.
As is the case with all scenario studies, self-report bias was likely a big problem here. Similarly, the non-sexually harassing items may have elicited fewer demand characteristics and, thus, less socially desirable responding from male participants who scored higher on the sexism scales.
So why are professional women more likely to be at risk for sexual harassment than women in more traditionally female occupations? It is puzzling, however, that these two factors did not interact.
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The reported study consisted of a small sample from a very homogenous and small liberal arts college. Much stronger would likely be found if this study were repeated in a sample of professional men, perhaps also with stimulus materials targeted toward actual experiences these professional men may find themselves in.
The present study does point to the necessity for researchers to attend carefully to how certain characteristics of female targets are portrayed in their research. Imagine that the woman pictured is your biology professor. She is the only female professor in the biology department.
You are making an average grade in her class. You are sitting a few feet apart in her office discussing how you can improve your grade. How likely are you to do the following? Means for main effect of pictures on likelihood to sexually harass biology professor. Picture Likelihood to Sexually Harass.
Figure 1 Egalitarian 1. Figure 2 Egalitarian 3. Figure 3 Traditional 1. Figure 4 Traditional 1. Dall, A. Studying sexual harassment in the laboratory: Are egalitarian women at higher risk? Sex Roles, 41 Deaux, K. Structure of gender stereotypes: Interrelationships among compenents and gender label.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46 Etaugh, C. Attitudes of professionals toward the married professional woman. Psychological Reports, 32 Fiske, S. Social science research on trial: Use of sex stereotyping research in Price Waterhouse v. American Psychologist, 46 Gutek, B. Sex ratios, sex-role spillover, and sexual harassment of women at work. Journal of Social Issues, 38 Haddock, G. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, Kaley, M.
Attitudes toward the dual role of the married professional woman.
American Psychologist, 26 Morton, G. The art of costume and personal appearance. New York: University of Nebraska Foundation. Rosenberg, J. Perlstandt, H. Now that we are here: Discrimination, disparagement and harassment at work and the experience of women lawyers. Gender and Society, 7— Swim, J.