Sexual Harassment and Sexual Discrimination when Working Internationally

Since ancient times women have been viewed, in many cultures, as men’s inferiors physically, morally, and intellectually. Today, in western cultures, women enjoy more freedom and equality than ever before in history. Despite the gains made by women in recent years, particularly in the U.S., many women worldwide still find that their access to education, employment, pelletnagyker healthcare and political influence are limited because of their gender. These discrepancies continue to exist because many societies still maintain centuries-old social and religious laws, customs, and traditions that have created barriers to education, jobs, and healthcare, as well as deprive women of their political and civil rights.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is usually defined as a form of discrimination in which sexual advances or requests for sexual favors constitute a condition of a person’s employment or advancement in the workplace. It frequently occurs between a male and a female, freelance writing often instigated by a male manager or other person in power. While many countries are starting to have laws against such discrimination, it is often reported that the laws are not enforced.
Sexual harassment occurs in workplaces worldwide, including the United States. Laws that specifically prohibit sexual harassment have been enacted in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, but many other countries are still in the process of studying the problem. There are two types of sexual harassment defined by U.S. law: quid pro quo and hostile environment. Quid pro quo means that an employee is asked to perform a sexual act in exchange for a job, themattress promotion, or other perk. A “hostile environment” is described as one which contains situations, acts, or items that can inhibit the productivity of an employee, such as sexually suggestive language, behavior, or pictures.

Sexual Discrimination

The American businesswoman may unwittingly and unavoidably be party to conversations and actions that discriminate against women. For example, toalla de playa in Asian businesses it is natural to ask a female employee to serve tea, and a woman may be subjected to innocent questions about her age, marital status, and whether or not she has children. In Korea and Japan, protocol has men entering rooms and elevators ahead of women. In Europe, office talk tends to be more flirtatious and sexual in nature, sprinkled with many off-color jokes and puns. Derogatory statements about women in Germany are often expressed openly in the office, and reference to a woman’s physique is not uncommon in Italy and France. Other countries still view a woman who is alone as a prostitute since otherwise her husband, boyfriend or family would accompany her. American women often view excessive flattery by Latin Americans as derogatory because U.S. office policies would not tolerate such comments.

Some women report that suggestive sexual comments are sometimes used (consciously or unconsciously) as negotiating tools in an attempt to throw a woman off her guard. Women must be prepared for this and develop the ability to keep control and not show anger or other emotion. Some tactics women have used successfully to respond to such situations include: giving a polite verbal reprimand to remind your counterparts that you are conducting a business session; suggesting a break while stating the negotiation has obviously gotten off track; or ending the negotiation in its entirety to show absolute intolerance and disapproval.

Gender Issues in Europe

Most women in Europe are still battling the glass ceiling even more than women in the U.S. There are fewer women in upper management and more hierarchical issues with which to grapple. Furthermore, European women are still expected to handle all responsibilities relating to home and family. This interferes with their ability to hold down a job unless they are wealthy enough to have hired help at home. Shopping hours are still not convenient for working women and day care is often not available. Younger women do not have the role models of older women in the business world, so they must often work harder to establish credibility and to break into the upper ranks of business. Derogatory comments about women appear to be more accepted by the public. For example, in England the derogatory terms “cow” and “bird” are widely used, even on TV, red light therapy and in films, to refer to women. In France and Italy it is not unusual for males to touch women inappropriately.

Gender Issues in Asia

Asian culture has traditionally placed more value on male offspring and on the male roles of ruler, protector, cultivator, and breadwinner. The male is out in the world, while the female remains at home to manage the household and raise the children. Asian males have consequently been in a dominant position over Asian women and have largely controlled their means of livelihood.

Centuries ago male philosophers, China’s elite, developed precepts of behavior — notably passivity and obedience — that women were expected, or forced, to follow. Women were subordinated to their fathers, brothers, husbands, and even sons. Historically, marriages in Asia were arranged not for love, but for family connections. The bride usually lived under the domination of the husband’s mother and frequently faced competition from secondary wives and concubines. Her husband was allowed to repudiate his wife, especially if she did not produce a male heir. If the husband died, the wife could not easily remarry. She had no economic independence, was frequently illiterate, and had no property rights. Infanticide limited the number of female children.

Today, Asian countries continue to be patriarchal societies with strong traditions. When a woman marries, she generally joins her husband’s family, and her ties with her own family weaken. The couple either lives with the husband’s family or, as is occurring more frequently, on its own. If there is a divorce, the father often gets custody of the children. Divorce is considered shameful and is rarely discussed. Divorce rates, which used to be very low in East Asia, are growing however, as women become more economically independent.

There is an old Chinese saying: “Women are the moon reflecting the sunlight,” meaning women reflect the glow of men. Young, educated East Asian women increasingly reject this old saying. They emphasize their individuality, independence, personal responsibility, hard work, and careers, even as they try to maintain their femininity. Yet the few recent studies of Asian women indicate that many still feel inferior to men and worry about managing a career and a family. Job discrimination is still practiced in Asia. “Family connections” are very important in obtaining desirable jobs. Stereotyping women as the weaker, less capable sex still prevails.

Gender Issues in Latin America

The concept of “machismo” is important in Mexico and other Latin American countries, although American businesswomen will encounter more macho attitudes in Mexico than in any other a part of Latin America. The word “macho” does not carry a negative connotation in Mexico, as it does in the U.S. For a Mexican, the word “macho” implies strength, valor, self-confidence and masculinity, which are all considered positive qualities. There is also an underlying assumption in the culture that men are supposed to be stronger, braver, wiser and more sexually knowledgeable than women. Displays of machismo include: showing courage in a bullring, risk-taking, taking part in bar room confrontations, and displaying sexual prowess by bragging about sexual conquests or by having a large family. To be macho also requires the repudiation of all characteristics considered feminine, such as unselfishness, kindness, frankness and truthfulness.
The proof of a man’s maleness in this culture is his ability to completely dominate his wife and his children and to have sexual relations with any woman he desires. A double moral standard exists between the fidelity expectations placed upon males and females in Mexico and Latin America. A woman’s primary obligation is to make a home and procreate; she is dedicated to a life of service and no infidelity on her part is tolerated. However, Shop Pro International men who maintain mistresses are within their legal rights as long as they are discreet about their affairs. A man can frequently divorce his wife if she commits adultery, but the wife can only divorce her husband if the act took place in their home.


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