Equality, after all? Men, women face equal verbal abuse at workplace

  • ANI, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 27, 2014 15:13 IST

A new study has examined that there is no major difference in the frequency of verbal abuse in the workplace between men and women.

The study conducted by researchers at the Institut universitaire de sante mentale de Montreal and the University of Montreal suggested that verbal abuse can lead to many consequences, particularly at the psychological and organizational levels.

Stephane Guay, lead author of the study tried to identify and summarize all previous research on verbal abuse in the workplace that took into account victims' sex in the analyses. After a rigorous selection process, 29 of the 90 identified studies were considered, most of which (24) were carried out in the health sector.

The results demonstrate that the majority of studies (15 of 29) reported no significant difference in the prevalence between men and women. This lack of difference can be explained by the fact the studies were conducted in the health sector. Men conform to a female-dominated environment by adopting certain behaviors that the literature considers stereotypically feminine.

The study also explained that it was related to the fact that it is more socially acceptable to be aggressive vis-a-vis the "stronger sex," considered as able to defend itself, than towards women, considered to be more vulnerable. This is all the more true because the majority of perpetrators are male.

Certain methodological limitations of these studies prevent definitive conclusions. Indeed, the sectoral categories are too broad, and studies that target some professions are still too few.

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