Sexist jokes in the workplace are one of the biggest factors that impact women’s ability to succeed, a new study has found.
A Melbourne Business School report found that companies lack strategy to tackle “low level sexism” despite having policies in place that target “overt” sexual harassment.
The report recommends that one way organisations should target low-level sexism is by implementing a “no just joking” policy.
“Still in the general population there is a perception it’s ok to engage in sexual slang and sexist jokes,” News.com.au quoted report author Victor Rojo as saying.
“This has negative impact on the health and performance of female workers, and it creates a culture where it’s okay to be a bully,” he said.
The meta-analysis of 103 studies found that existing strategies for increasing the number of women in leadership roles have “peaked in their impacts”.
The report identified key risk factors that impacted women at work, and found that sexism was “one of the most pervasive and pronounced” indicators of women’s “fit” in their organisation.
“If women feel they do not fit in or are not accepted as equals they are less likely to stay in their role or in the organisation,” the report said.
The risk factors of sexism, sexual harassment and gender stereotyping were found to be key characteristics of male-dominated work environments, in industries such as natural sciences, engineering, medicine, police forces, military forces, information technology, law firms and financial services.
The research is aimed at helping organisations improve gender balance.