Research on workplace sexual harassment
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Research study

Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice (SRHRJ) Workplace Sexual Harassment Study

Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH, Liza Fuentes, DrPH, Guttmacher Institute and Lauren Maxwell, PhD, MPH, Emory University are conducting a survey to measure workplace sexual harassment and assault among people working in sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice (SRHRJ)-focused organizations.

This project will provide the first ever measure of the five-year prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the SRHRJ field and whether the experience of sexual harassment and assault varies by gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and career stage, whether at their workplace or during work related travel, conferences, or other activities. If you are interested in participating in the survey, please contact us.

SRHRJ Workplace Sexual Harassment Webinar (click below):

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions along with answers.

Who is conducting this study?

What is the purpose of this project?

Why is this project important?

What will this project involve?

What will organizations be invited to do?

Will organizations be identified in the study results?

When would this project take place?

What are the advantages of taking part in this project?

What are you going to do with the study results?

Is this is study IRB-approved?

Who else is involved in this project?

How do I get more information?

Who is conducting this study?

This study is a collaborative effort led by researchers from three institutions. They are:

  • Liza Fuentes, DrPH, MPH, Guttmacher Institute
  • Lauren Maxwell, PhD, MPH, Emory University
  • Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco

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What is the purpose of this project?

  1. To better understand the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the SRHRJ workforce
  2. To assess how experiences of workplace sexual harassment in the SRHRJ workforce vary by gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and career stage

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Why is this project important?

Recent studies examining various academic disciplines, government institutions, and private industries indicate that workplace sexual harassment and assault is common in the United States, but no studies have estimated the prevalence of sexual harassment in the SRHRJ workforce. Revelations of both recent and longstanding workplace sexual harassment in the SRHRJ field suggest that individuals working in SRHRJ are exposed to sexual harassment and assault in the course of their work.

This project will provide the first ever measure of the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the SRHRJ field, and will assess whether the experience of sexual harassment and assault varies by gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and career stage. This study will provide the much-needed grounding for SRHRJ organizations to address and prevent sexual harassment and assault in our workplaces, and is an opportunity for the SRHRJ field to lead in understanding and addressing sexual harassment and assault in progressive workplaces.

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What will this project involve?

We will field a confidential, 8-10 minute web-based survey among employees of SRHRJ organizations. This survey will include closed-ended questions on demographics and professional characteristics of respondents, and their experiences with workplace sexual harassment and assault in the context of SRHRJ-related jobs and training positions.

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What will organizations be invited to do?

  1. Disseminate survey to all staff
    1. Organizational leadership will be asked to send an email to all staff with information about and a link to the survey. We will provide an email template to facilitate this communication.

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Will organizations be identified in the study results?

  1. The survey does not collect information that could be used to identify individuals or organizations. This survey will provide an estimate of the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the SRHRJ workforce as a whole.
  2. The survey is administered using Qualtrics, a highly secure online platform that is FedRamp authorized and ISO 27001 certified. It is widely recognized by Institutional Review Boards as an appropriate tool for collecting health- and social science-related survey data.
  3. We have contracted with a professional data collection and management firm to oversee data collection and redact any potentially identifying information from qualitative survey responses, before sharing data with the study team.
  4. We have also obtained a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health for this study, which adds another layer of legal protection of our data, and therefore, participant confidentiality.

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When would this project take place?

This link to the confidential, online survey will be sent to organization in the summer of 2019.

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What are the advantages of taking part in this project?

Survey participants will have the option to enter a raffle for a $50 gift card. One gift card will be raffled for every 100 respondents. A webinar on the topic of workplace sexual harassment and assault in the SRHRJ field will be offered to organizations in summer 2019, along with a follow-up webinar later in 2019 to share survey results.

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What are you going to do with the study results?

We will present study results in a peer-reviewed journal article as well as in a format that is accessible to policy makers and organizational leaders (such as a fact sheet or short report). We will also report back to organizations and workers in the SRHRJ field directly through conference presentations, presentations to SRHRJ leadership organizations, and webinars. We hope this study can ground discussions and action about the opportunity for the SRHRJ field to lead the efforts to address and prevent workplace sexual harassment and assault.

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Is this is study IRB-approved?

The study protocol was approved the by the Guttmacher Institute Institutional Review Board.

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Who else is involved in this project?

More than 40 SRHRJ organizations have already agreed to take the important step of distributing this survey to staff. We have also formed an advisory committee of SRHRJ leaders to provide input and feedback on each step of this study. The advisory board includes:

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How do I get more information?

For questions about this study, please contact Liza Fuentes at lfuentes@guttmacher.org or 917-838-2758.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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