Hostile Environment Harassment occurs when unwanted sexual conduct interferes with a person’s work. This interference doesn’t necessarily have to be of a material nature which can be valued in monetary terms but it can be anything which makes the work environment intimidating. Hostile Environment Harassment is also often associated with verbal misconduct which embarrasses or humiliates a victim, which in turn could lead to lower job satisfaction and performance. (Barry & Shaw, 1998)
Quid-Pro-Quo Harassment is when a person uses his authority in the workplace to seek sexual favors from other employees.
In this case rewards and punishments are associated with the compliance the victim (Barry & Shaw, 1998). This again leads to a very negative outlook towards job motivation because here the way to the top is not portrayed to be hard work but rather the sexual favors one can do for their supervisors or managers. Besides lower job satisfaction and reduced productivity, sexual harassment hampers the target mentally as well.
They lose their self-esteem and blame themselves for what has happened to them (Ackroyd & Thompson, 1994). In Pakistan, considering the patriarchal social structure where most companies do not even have policies regarding sexual harassment and some which do, are not implemented or observed properly, women do not even come forward with their problems. They feel shame for what has happened, and might fear seclusion from the society which blames the woman for what has happened and ostracizes her.
There is always the matter of ‘honor’ which is one of the leading causes for suicide in Pakistan.
The biggest problem in our society is that we don’t accept the fact that sexual harassment exists. Pakistani society, being an Islamic society should be more concerned about this because of the rights and the status Islam gives to women. In Islam women and men are given similar rights and duties. Women are allowed to own property, earn money and to express their opinion. What our society needs is for companies to have strict policies regarding sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment should be clearly defined and the ways to proceed with a complaint should also be outlined. Most importantly the policy should also respect the privacy of the victim so that people don’t have too much trouble coming forward with their complaints. Mentorship in organizations A mentor is “an experienced or more senior person in the organization who gives a junior person special attention, such as giving advice and creating opportunities to assist him or her during the early stages of his or her career” (Johns & Saks, 1996).
From an organizations point of view mentoring makes sure that the company culture and beliefs are transferred from one generation of employees to the next. It provides new employees with the information he needs to know so as to excel within the organization and in the process be an important asset to the company. At the same time she/he learns how to deal with his superiors, peers, etc (Vinnicombe & Colwill, 1995). Proper mentorship has been linked to lowered levels of job stress (Johns & Saks, 1996).
Once again this poses a problem for women because most of the senior people in the organization are men. The problem arises as most of the male mentors are inexperienced when it comes to dealing with women. The problems they faced as they moved up through the organizations hierarchy might be quite different from the ones a woman would face thus the mentors would not be able to provide much help. When mentors undertake an apprentice under their mentorship its usually because they can reflect back to the time they had started work in this organization and they see their own past in the new young employee.
So if the new employee is a woman, it is difficult for the mentors to identify themselves with the new employee. (Vinnicombe & Colwill, 1995) Besides this whenever there is a lot of interaction between a senior man and a young new female employee people start perceiving their relationship as having a sexual nature (Johns & Saks, 1996). This hinders the development of a productive working relationship which could benefit the organization and at the same time provide promotion opportunities for the woman worker.
Another problem which is quite prevalent in our society is the father-daughter relationship. Females are always considered as ‘Daddy’s little girl’ (Vinnicombe & Colwill, 1995). They are always pampered and not made independent as is the case with males. This problem creeps up into organizations as well when senior male mentors consider their young female apprentices as their daughters and continue to pamper them and not really make them independent enough to handle the work without the presence of the mentor himself.
It is often heard that behind the success of every man, there is a woman. This belief has led to an inherent bias in people’s mind which makes them think that there’s a hard working man with a woman assisting him. This is labeled as the “the assistant-to” effect (Vinnicombe & Colwill, 1995). Here if there is a male mentor and a female apprentice, the roles are often seen shifting from a mentor-apprentice relationship to a worker-helper relationship where the apprentice does learn the work, but once again not well enough to take over the work of the mentor when he’s no longer there.
According to a study it has been proved that mentoring plays a major role in career development of men and women both. Studies have shown that 61% women who have made it to top management positions have had a mentor somewhere along their career path and out of these 99% admit that their mentor played an important role in their progress through the organizational hierarchy. (Johns & Saks, 1996) Conclusion Although the participation rate of women in the labor force has increased over the years. Being only 43% in 1970 and rising to 61% in 2003 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fig. 2).
The working conditions or the workplace still has to undergo some major changes before they are completely free of gender biased thinking. For the women to be on the same level as men in the workplace they will have to move on from the expressive roles that the functionalists argue as an important function of the society. According to Marx and the conflict perspective, it is the constant struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeois, in this case between the women and the men accordingly, which will lead to the necessary reforms being made in the workplace.