The present research investigates women's experiences of sexual harassment at the workplaces, its effects on harassed female workers and the coping strategies employed by them. The research has been carried out in two parts.
Part I deals with the development of an indigenous Sexual Harassment Experience Questionnaire (SHEQ) which measures the women's experiences of sexual harassment at workplaces of Pakistan. The development process was carried out in four phases with independent samples. The 35 items of SHEQ are divided into Gelfand, Fitzgerald, and Drasgow's (1995) three dimensions of harassment: Gender Harassment, Unwanted Sexual Attention, and Sexual Coercion. The procedure followed for the development is almost same as that of Fitzgerald et al.'s (1988) Sexual Experience Questionnaire (SEQ). The results of the several studies carried out during the development of SHEQ .suggest that it possesses sufficient reliability and validity for research use.
Part II of the research deals with the exploration of the frequency of sexual harassment at the workplaces and determination of the relationship of various demographic variables with women's experiences of sexual harassment at workplaces. The effects of sexual harassment on harassed female workers in terms of vocational, psychological, interpersonal, and physical strain, the coping strategies that harassed women workers employ in terms of internally focused and externally focussed coping strategies, and the hypotheses formulated for these variable have also been tested. In Part II, two studies have been carried out. The pilot study was done on a small sample (N==60) and it was aimed at calculating the frequency of sexual harassment at workplaces and determining the relationship of sexual harassment with some demographic variables. The main study was carried out on a comparatively larger sample (N=205), it again aimed at calculating the frequency of sexual harassment as well as determination of the relationship of sexual harassment with various demographic variables. It also dealt with the exploration of the effects of sexual harassment and coping strategies employed by women through testing of a few hypotheses formulated in this regard.
In the Pilot Study, a sample of 60 working women who showed their willingness to participate were selected. Their age ranged from 19 to 50 years (M=28.78, SD=6.55). All of the subjects were working with male bosses, colleagues, and subordinates. SHEQ along with a demographic information sheet were administered on them. As regard the frequency of the experiences of sexual harassment at workplaces, it was found that the prevalence estimate was same as that of the research of Gelfand, Fitzgerald, and Drasgow's (1995). Thus, the highest prevalence was on the dimension of Gender Harassment, followed by Unwanted Sexual Attention, and then Sexual Coercion. Data on relationship of various demographic variables with women's sexual harassment experiences indicate that the results were consistent with those of some Western studies, which confirmed that SHEQ could be used as a measure of women's experiences of sexual harassment at workplaces.
In the Main Study, a sample of 205 women working with male bosses, colleagues, and subordinates was taken. Their mean age and standard deviation were 29.36 and 6.66 years, respectively. Sexual Harassment Experience Questionnaire (SHEQ), Coping with Harassment Questionnaire (CHQ), Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ) of Occupational Stress Inventory, and a demographic Information sheet which collected information on age, education, marital status, Job status, organization, and reasons for doing job were administered. The prevalence rate was in the same direction as found in the pilot study of the present research and earlier by Gelfand et al.'s (1995) research. The relationship of different demographic variables with sexual harassment was found to be mostly in line with Western studies. It has been concluded that experiences of sexual harassment at workplaces affect working women In terms of vocational, psychological, interpersonal, and physical strain. The women with more experiences of sexual harassment employed more externally focused coping strategies as compared to intern ally focused coping strategies. Implications and limitations of this research have also been discussed.