Quarter of Australian women sexually harassed at work

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2012, 3:26am

A quarter of women in Australia have been sexually harassed at work in the past five years, according to a report released in the wake of a row that erupted when Prime Minister Julia Gillard accused the opposition leader of misogyny.

The report by the Australian Human Rights Commission showed that sexual harassment in the workplace was widespread and progress on addressing it had stalled.

"This research is conducted every four years and shows that little has changed," sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said.

"It shows that sexual harassment - an extreme form of sexism - is alive and well in Australian workplaces and we need to do something about it."

As well as concluding that one in four women had experienced sexual harassment in the past five years, the report showed 16 per cent of men had been victims. Ninety per cent of the women said their harasser was a man, with men constituting 79 per cent of harassers overall.

The report follows three weeks of debate about sexism and misogyny in public life after Gillard's speech to Parliament attacking the conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbott, for, among other things, standing in front of signs branding her a "bitch" and a "witch".