Class Notes (839,483)
Canada (511,363)
York University (35,583)
GWST 3510 (20)
Jan Kainer (20)
Lecture 21

GWST 3510 Lecture 21: March 22

6 Pages

Gender and Women's Studies
Course Code
GWST 3510
Jan Kainer

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-sexual harassment: interactions on the job that is sexual in nature and unwelcomed or unwanted -gender harassment: disrespectful attitude towards one because of their gender -studies of sexual harassment shows that it is incredibly widespread around the globe and there are higher rates of sexual harassment in the developing world -in some countries and cultures, the accepted gender dynamics mask harassment -defining appropriate gender behaviours becomes difficult in certain cultures and contexts: this is the argument that is focused on in this lecture -male-dominance prevails and becomes accepted in the environment -a few years ago in 2015, the Ontario government produced a youtube video depicting a situation in which a woman was being harassed: a male would intervene in that scenario -the idea was to prevent sexual harassment -women working in banks, in the media, and domestic workers, and in non-feminine sectors are all subjected to sexual harassment -it doesn’t matter what sector or job women are in, they report sexual harassment -younger women, however, are more likely to experience sexual harassment -women in precarious employment are also likely to experience harassment -women in the contemporary health industry will be the focus of analysis -it is a relatively recent public policy issue, something that has been identified recently -sexual harassment did not have a name until 1976: there wasn’t a name attached to incidents of sexual harassment -it wasn’t understood because of its sensitive nature and was seen as something that happened in private -women didn’t want to report sexua harassment because they felt humiliated and demeaned by sexual harassment -they didn’t want to be seen as contributing to the problem -their personal experiences politicized the phenomenon -it was only the activism of feminists that uncovered and politicized of sexual harassment -sexual harassment mostly happens to women -the vast majority of people who experience sexual harassment are women -it is obvious that women are the ones experiencing sexual harassment more than men -the reason why it happens to women is because men are in positions of authority in the workplace, they can use their power to make sexual demands on women -women are typically in the subordinate positions in the workplace -it is culturally inappropriate for women to initiate sexual contact -power relations between men and women have not changed -women are still in subordinate roles in the workplace, which creates the conditions of sexual harassment -sexual harassment is conditioned by the fact that women are in subordinate roles -how is sexual harassment defined and understood? -it was usually unidentified as an exploitative relationship in which men made demands on women to fulfill sexual favours -the description of this type of harassment involved an exchange between the employee and employer: the employee is rewarded if they comply with the employer’s request Two common forms: Legal definitions: -quid pro quo (this for that); exchange for sexual favour -work condition/hostile work environment; poisonous work environment (work culture) -questions are also raised about the credibility of the harasser -who is to be believed? -in Canada, sexual harassment issues have been addressed in the court -Dianna Janzen and Tracy Govereau were the waitresses who filed a human rights complaint against their employer: they experienced a lot of issues because the man was harassing them -they won the case -it was appealed to the Court of Appeal and eventually made its way up to the Supreme Court -the Supreme Court defined sexual harassment as sex discrimination that adversely affects the employment situation of women -the Court upheld monetary damages and this case became important in defining sexual harassment in the Canadian context -these women experience sexual harassment not because of some idiosyncratic reasons about their appearance SCC Sexual harassment is: -it is an abuse of power (and when it) occurs in the workplace, it is an abuse of both economic and sexual power -sexual harassment is a demeaning practice, one that constitutes a profound affront to the dignity of employees forced to endure it -any female was potentially subject to abuse by the offending male employee -the employer, Platy Enterprises Ltd. is held liable for the conduct of their employee as he had power -sex discrimination is also defined as a pattern -if it is a pattern of conduct, something that is repeated over and over again, that constitutes harassment -it has to be persistent, unwanted, and unwelcomed -another law used to prevent sexual harassment is the Occupational Health and Safety Act: it undermines their safety in the workplace -both human rights and labour laws encompass protections against sexual harassment -the work of feminists led the way on the issue of harassment -had it not been for them, in the last 30 years or so, we wouldn’t have had the development of this approach to addressing harassment in the workplace -this involves, in terms of a poisonous workplace, can involve a wide array of things: explicit comments in the sexualizing nature of the workplace, sexual gestures, etc., -a hostile or poisonous work environment may be thought of as a work culture -the legal definition of poisonous/hostile environment is important because it is almost impossible to regulate these kind of practices -how can we regulate the day to day interactions that are embedded in the workplace -some feminists have argued that it operates as a system of social control, a means of lowering their status, and removing them from the workplace -men want to sustain a masculinized workplace and work culture, as it benefits them -sexual harassment is seldom about sex, but rather, more about power -it is an abuse of power, in which men typically assert their power over women -67% of the men said they would feel flattered to be sexually harassed -62% of the women said they would feel insulted from these sexual propositions -to understand sexual harassment as flattery is to miss the point -a hostile work environment is oppressive, demeaning, and insufferable -however, it is often tolerated by women as it is defined as acceptable by those in power and as it gets built into the job as part of the expectations of doing the job and doing the job well -it is impossible to separate the job requirements and expectations from the poisonous work culture -it permeates the work culture and becomes the expectation of the employers as to how the female employee should be treated -there are expectations on the part of employers in parts of the sectors -in service jobs such as hospitality and retail, these sectors are highly sexualized -deference is constructed in sexual terms: (?) particularly in gendered ways -responding to teasing with wit rather than sarcasm is expected of women -they are expec
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