#Metoo – dealing with sexual harrasment at work

If you’re on social media you may have seen your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram filling with #MeToo over the last few days. The hashtag is being used by women following the widespread coverage of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. It is intended to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem – sexual harassment and abuse are not rare aberrations but sadly are commonplace in society.

We stand by all the women who shared their experiences as part of the #MeToo awareness campaign. We stand by all the women who have experienced sexual harassments or assault but didn’t feel ready or confident to share those experiences. We stand by those woman who are so frustrated by the fact we still have to have campaigns like this.

The TUC study, Still just a bit of banter?, which was carried out in with the Everyday Sexism Project, found that: 

  • nearly one in three women have been the subject of unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature at work; 
  • more than one in four women have been the subject of comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes at work;
  • nearly a quarter of women have experienced unwanted touching;
  • a fifth of women have experienced unwanted verbal sexual advances at work;
  • around one in eight women have experienced unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them at work.

UNISON nationally and locally are committed to supporting individuals who are the victims of sexual harassment and abuse. We also are part of a movement challenging a culture which encourages or ignores predatory behaviour at work and beyond.

Following our survey on sexism at work, we will be organising meetings to share the findings and talk about how to identify, name and act on sexist behaviour in the workplace. If you are interested in helping organise these meetings in your workplace, please contact Ruth Cashman, Branch Secretary.

If there is any issue at work which you want to discuss in confidence contact your local steward or UNISON Direct on 0800 085 7857 and a representative will be allocated to you.