As a woman, you might believe that rising up the ranks will spare you from sexual harassment once and for all.
Sadly, research shows this is wrong. It found that female bosses, CEOs and senior managers face much more harassment than lower-ranked employees. Why is this?
It’s down to power and exposure
Men who swear they have no issue with women start to show their true colors when they feel a woman has “gotten above her station,” or any other misogynistic way of describing a woman making career progress.
When you were just another employee, they probably didn’t feel so threatened by you. They might not even have known you existed. Once you take a more powerful position in the company, they feel threatened.
As you rise to prominence, you come to more people’s attention – those above you and those you are now above. It means there’s an even greater chance that someone considers you a threat. It could be a senior manager who thinks you are coming for their job next. Or an employee who is unhappy at having a woman tell him what to do. Hence, you stand a greater chance that someone sexually harasses you in an attempt to reassert power over you. Sexual harassment is generally about the assertion of power rather than sexual attraction.
It’s pathetic, but it’s a real problem and could be extremely traumatic for you. You don’t have to put up with it. Wherever you stand in the company hierarchy, there are legal options to examine if someone sexually harasses you.