Title: Sexual harassment of women students in higher education
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099109/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sexual harassment of women students in higher education
Physical Description: xii, 176 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Oshinsky, Judy C ( Judy Charla ), 1947-
Copyright Date: 1980
Subject: Sexual harassment of women -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Women college students -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Counselor Education thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Judy C. Oshinsky.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1980.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 168-175.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099109
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000100159
oclc - 07311865
notis - AAL5620


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Copyright 1980


Judy C. Oshinsky

In loving memory of

my father, Mr. I. Oshinsky


This study would not have been possible without the support and

assistance of many people. My gratitude is extended to Dr. Robert 0.

Stripling, Chairperson of my advisory committee, for his consistent and

enthusiastic support, helpful suggestions, and professional guidance.

My appreciation is conveyed to the members of my advisory committee,

Dr. Everett Hall, Dr. Janet Larsen, and Dr. Ann Lynch, who offered

support and encouragement.

My grateful appreciation is expressed to Dr. Ann Lynch and Dean

Phyllis Meek for serving as my much-needed mentors. Without their

constructive suggestions, enthusiasm, patience, and belief in my abili-

ties to approach and investigate the sensitive issues of this disser-

tation, it would not have become a reality.

My deepest gratitude is expressed to the following persons:

To my loving parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Posner,
for their constant support and encouragement;

To Ms. Shirley Hekimian for her personal concern,
support, and sensitivity;

To Ms. Patricia Hughson-Fisher for her perserverance,
concern, encouragement, and boundless energy in the
typing of the manuscript;

To Mr. Dennis Murphy for sharing his expertise and
many hours in exploration at the computer;

To my colleagues of the Institute on Sexism for
their financial and professional support;

To my colleagues of the Florida International
University Counseling and Advisement Services
for their consistent support and encouragement,
and for sharing their resources;


To my family for their patience and for believing
in me.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . .

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . .

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . .



Purpose of the Study.
Rationale ......
Problem Statement .
Hypotheses. . . .
Definition of Terms .

Outline of the Remaind

. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . ..
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . ..
er of the Study . . ..


Background . . . . . ..
Occupational Stereotyping . . . . . .
Women in the Professions. . . . . ....
Sexual Harassment as a Barrier to Occupational
Equality. . . . . . . . . .
i-Definition. . . . . . . . . .
Relationship to Sex Roles . . . . . .
Relationship to Occupational Segregation. .
Consequences of Sexual Harassment . . . .
Prevalence. . . . . . . . . .
Review of Title VII Cases . ...........
Sexual Harassment as Sex Discrimination . .
4Bnployer Responsibility . . . . . .
Governmental Response . . . . . . .
Institutional Sexism. . . . . . . .
Background. . . . . . . . . .
Profile of Undergraduate Women Students . .
First Professional Degree Level . . ...
A Profile of Professional Women in Academia . .
Attitudes Affecting Women in Academia . . .
Professional Women. . . . . . . .
Professional Women's Aspirations. . . . .
Women in Administration . . . . . .
Attitudes Toward Female Graduate Students . .

. . . ix

. . . xi

Attitudes Toward Women Pursuing Non-
Traditional Fields of Study . . . . .
Sexual Harassment of Female Students. . ....
Prevalence of Sexual Harassment of Women
Students. . . . . . . . . .
Consequences of Sexual Harassment . . ...
Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment. ..
Recent Developments . . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . . . .


Description of Sample and Sel
Procedures ..........
Instrumentation . . . .
Development . . . .
Phase I . . . . .
Phase II. . . . . .
Phase III .........
Phase IV ..........
Phase V ..........
Final Revisions . . .
Analysis of Data. . . .
Limitations ........ .

section . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .

FOUR RESULTS . . . . . . . . . . .

Demographic Data. . . . . . . . .
Analysis of Data. . . . . . . . .
Items Concerning Attitudes and Beliefs. . ....
Items Concerning Experiences. . . . . .
The Relationship Between Items. . . . .


Conclusions . . . . . . . . . .
Discussion. . . . . . . . . .
Implications . . . . . . . . ..


A Notation. . . . . . . . . . .

B Sample Cover Letter and Questionnaire . . . .

C Revision of Sexual Harassment Questionnaire . .



. . 74

. . 74
. . 76
. . 78
. . 78
. . 79
. . 80
. . 80
. . 81
. . 82
. . 82
. . 82
. . 85



C.1 Pilot Study: Questionnaire . . . . . 164

C.2 Pilot Study: Instructions. . . . . ... 167

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................... 176





Table 1. Population and Sample Sizes. . . . . 75


Table 2. Composition of Sample of Female Students,
by Professional School and Level, Responding
to Sexual Harassment Questionnaire . . 88

Table 3. Number and Percentage of Male and Female
Faculty in Selected Professional Schools
in the State University System of
Florida. . . . . . . . . .. 90

Table 4. Multivariate Tests of Significance Using
Wilks Lambda Criterion for 12 Attitude
Items . . . . . . . . . . 94

Table 5. One-Way Analysis of Variance, A Posteriori
Tests of 12 Attitude Items Between Groups. 97

Table 6. Differences in Attitudes and Beliefs Con-
cerning Sexual Harassment Between Female
Students in Traditional (T) and Non-
Traditional (NT) Professional Fields of
Study Expressed in Raw Scores and
Percentages. . . . . . . . .. 99

Table 7. Differences in Attitudes and Beliefs Con-
cerning Sexual Harassment of Female
Students in Non-Traditional Fields of
Study Expressed in Raw Scores and
Percentages. . . . . . . .... 103

Table 8. Differences in Attitudes and Beliefs Con-
cerning Sexual Harassment Between
Graduate (G) and Undergraduate (UG)
Female Students Expressed in Raw Scores
and Percentages. . . . . . . .. 108


Table 9. Differences of Experiences of Sexual
Harassment Between Female Students
Enrolled Traditional (T) and Non-
Traditional (NT) Fields of Study Ex-
pressed in Raw Scores and Percentages . 112

Table 10. Differences of Experiences of Sexual
Harassment of Female Students Among
Non-Traditional Professional Areas of
Study Expressed in Raw Scores and
Percentages . . . . . . . 120

Table 11. Differences of Experiences of Sexual
Harassment Between Graduate (G) and
Undergraduate Level (JG) Female Stu-
dents Expressed in Raw Scores and
Percentages . . . . . . ... 124

Table 12. Two Canonical Factors That Relate
to Attitude and Experience Items
Expressed by Correlation Coefficients . 127


Table 13. Pre- and Post-Test Data . . . . . 150

Table 14. Factor Analysis of Attitude and Experience
Items . . . . . . . 151

Table 15 Pre- and Post-Test Scores of Attitudes
of Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Towards Sexual Harassment on Campus (Per-
centage Agreeing with Items). . . ... 152

Table 16 Pre- and Post-Test Scores of Undergraduate
and Graduate Students Experiences of Sexual
Harassment (Percentages Agreeing with
Items). . . . . . . . . 155

Table 17. Experiences of and Attitudes Toward Blatant
and Subtle Forms of Sexual Harassment,
Students Harassing Professors, and Re-
porting Incidents of Sexual Harassment to
University Officials (Percentages Agreeing
with Items) . . . . . . . 161

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Judy C. Oshinsky

Chairperson: Dr. Robert Stripling
Major Department: Counselor Education

The purpose of this study was to provide more accurate information

pertaining to the number of women students who have experienced some

form of sexual harassment on campus. The study also was designed to

examine the beliefs that women students have toward sexual harassment in

the college environment. Women students in the traditional professional

major area of education were compared to women students in selected non-

traditional professional major areas of study: dentistry, engineering,

law, medicine, and veterinary medicine. In addition, undergraduate

women students were compared to graduate women students.

Data were obtained from the responses to the Questionnaire on

Sexual Harassment of 1,111 wanen students at the three largest univer-

sities in the state university system of Florida. The results indicated

that a greater percentage of women in non-traditional areas of study,

when compared to those in traditional areas, experienced subtle forms

of sexual harassment. Approximately 80 percent of the female medical

students (dentistry, medicine, and veterinary medicine) have exper-

ienced instructors() who made negative remarks about females as a

group," while 64 percent of the law students, and 38 percent of the

engineering students shared this type of subtle harassment. A greater

percentage of graduate students, compared to undergraduates, indicated

experiences of subtle forms of sexual harassment.

No statistically significant differences were found to exist be-

tween the four groups when considering experiences of blatant sexual

harassment. Approximately 20 percent of the graduate women, compared

to 17 percent of the undergraduate women, experienced "unwanted sex-

ual attention from their instructorss)" About 20 percent of the

women in non-traditional fields, compared to 17 percent of the women

in the traditional fields of education (both undergraduate and graduate),

indicated that they experienced "unwanted sexual attention" from their

instructors. A canonical correlation analysis demonstrated that the

two highly correlated canonical factors exist. These factors were

labeled subtle and blatant forms of harassment. This analysis also

indicated that a relationship exists between women students' percep-

tions and their experiences of sexual harassment.


Various forms of sexual harassment occur on college campuses

across the nation. Incidents of sexual harassment may range from

sexist c omnents and unwanted physical contact, such as pinching and

patting, to subtle pressure for sexual activity. The unwanted sex-

ual attention that a student experiences from a professor or staff

member carries an implicit message that lack of cooperation will

bring negative consequences. The consequences may include continued

harassment, unfair grading practices, poor evaluations or letters of

recommendation, sarcasm and negative or embarrassing remarks aimed at

the student (Alliance Against Sexual Coercion 1979; Farley 1978).

There is a paucity of concrete evidence as to the existence, preva-

lence, or the consequences of sexual harassment in the higher educa-

tion community. Campus newspapers may tend to provide emotionally

charged facts; however, they do provide much needed information. The

following is an example of one such account:

A faculty member told a student, 'if you want to
get an 'A', you have to go to bed with me.' The
student's husband reported it to the department
chairman. The department chairman had a 'heart
to heart' with the faculty member instead of bouncing
him out on his ear. He shipped him off to another
college with a glowing letter of recommendation.
(Julin 1979, p. 10)

Just how prevalent are situations of sexual harassment on

college and university campuses?

Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of this study was to provide more accurate

information pertaining to the number of women students who have ex-

perienced some form of sexual harassment on the campus. This study

examined the attitudes and beliefs of women students toward the oc-

currence of sexual harassment in the college environment. An addi-

tional purpose of this study was to further refine the definition of

sexual harassment.

For the purpose of this study, women students in the traditional

professional major area of education were compared to women students

in selected non-traditional professional major areas of study:

dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine. In

addition, undergraduate women students were compared to graduate

women students.

The results of research pertaining to the extent of sexual

harassment on campuses may be used for program planning and policy

statements by the State and Federal government and universities-at-

large (Guidepost 1979; Project on the Status and Education of Women

1978). In addition, it is hoped that this research will build a

foundation for and generate further research in the area of sexual

harassment of women students on the campus. Universities may also

become sensitive to the need for training programs for administrative

personnel, faculty, and students, relating to the issue of sexual



Sexual harassment of students by instructors does exist; however,

very little basic datawere available to substantiate its existence.

The prevalence of occurrence of such incidents needed to be determined.

Until university officials are faced with facts, in the form of data,

they will remain unaware of the extent of the problem. Until adequate

complaint procedures are established to report incidents of harassment,

there will be a void in the means by which the extent of sexual harass-

ment can be measured. Governmental agencies and professional organi-

zations have stated the need for research in the area of sexual ha-

rassment of students (Guidepost 1979; Project on the Status and Educa-

tion of Women 1978; Women in Action 1980). In Lin Farley's recent

book (1978), Sexual Shakedown, she stated that:

Sexual harassment is pervasive in American colleges
and universities. This pervasiveness, combined
with a lack of adequate procedures for complaining,
virtually assures that a certain percentage of
female graduate students will be victimized by this
abuse. (1978, p. 74)

Presently, there are six universities in the United States that

have publicly acknowledged sexual harassment as a problem on their

campuses. These schools have taken the initiative to implement

administrative policy in the form of reporting procedures designated

to handle incidents of sexual harassment. For the most part, women

in universities throughout the nation are rendered impotent in dealing

with this problem:

Because most women fail to publicize their com-
plaints, either formally or informally, university
officials may believe that the absence of complaints
indicates the absence of a problem. (Project on the
Status and Education of Women 1978, p. 3)

Presently, only 12 percent of the tenured faculty in the state

university system of Florida are female. The number of male faculty

has increased 25 percent in the last five years while the number of

female faculty has increased less than 2 percent. Female students are

rapidly approaching 50 percent of the student population (Wares 1980).

Female staff members report more incidents of sexual harassment being

brought to their attention than do male administrators (Raulerson 1979;

Julin 1979). At the University of Florida, 88 percent of the faculty

are males; there is an excellent chance that a female student may

never experience a relationship of trust with a female staff member

(Klein 1979). Determining whether sexual harassment is a problem on

the university campus, by calculating the number of "reported incidents,"

is analogous to determining the size of the iceberg by looking at its


An anonymous questionnaire was used to sample populations of

female students and survey their personal experiences, attitudes, and

beliefs concerning sexual harassment of females on campus. A ques-

tionnaire offers "greater impersonality, elicits more candid and more

objective replies," than an interview or incident reports (Mobuly 1963,

p. 240). The questionnaire appeared to be the most effective method

of measurement in aiding university officials in determining whether

sexual harassment was a problem of such magnitude that it required

administrative policy.

Problem Statement

Occupational stereotyping as an outgrowth of sex-role stereotyping

exists as a perpetrator of inequality. Occupational stereotyping, its

component occupational segregation, and sexual harassment function in

a mutualistic relationship. Occupational and institutional sexism

result in sexual harassment of women, and sexual harassment perpetuates

both forms of sexism. This symbiotic relationship provokes pernicious

results for women who defy and transgress the boundaries of their

stereotype. For example:

Women are often blocked by sexual harassment from
obtaining the academic degrees without which there
can be no entry into the majority of professional
occupations. (Farley 1978, p. 69)_

In Juanita Kreps book, Sex in the Marketplace, she stated that

women graduate students, more often than men, do not complete their

studies for several reasons. Kreps maintained that the failure of

women to complete their graduate studies was due to their lack of

interest, marriage, childbearing, inadequate fellowship support to

women, and admissions policies that favor men (1971). In response,

Lin Farley strongly asserted that:

It is time we recognize that what has been judged
female disinterest or lack of dedication is often
the effect of sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is,
in fact, so widespread in higher education that
school administrators should have made this connec-
tion sometime ago. (1978, p. 70)

This study measured the extent of this problem in the State of

Florida's three largest universities. The questions that were answered

by this research were:

1. To what extent, if any, does sexual harassment
of women students occur on college campuses?
2. Is there a difference in the frequency of sexual
harassment of women students in the traditional
field of education, as compared to women students
in those fields considered non-traditional pro-
fessions (e.g., dentistry, engineering, law,
medicine, veterinary medicine)?
3. Is there a difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment of women students
between women in the traditional professional
major area of education and the non-traditional
professional areas of study?
4. Is there a difference in the frequency of sexual
harassment of wcren students among those fields
considered non-traditional professional areas of
5. Is there a difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment of women students
among those fields considered non-traditional
professional areas of study?
6. Is there a difference in the frequency of sexual
harassment of undergraduate women as compared to
graduate wamen students?
7. Is there a difference in the attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment of undergraduate
women as compared to graduate women students?


1. There is no difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment between women in the
traditional professional major area of education
and those in selected non-traditional professional
major areas of study.
2. There is no difference in the frequency of sexual
harassment of women students among selected non-
traditional major areas of study.
3. There is no difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment between graduate and
undergraduate women students.
4. There is no difference between women students in
selected non-traditional professional areas of
study and the traditional professional major area
of education, in the frequency of sexual

5. There is no difference in the frequency of
sexual harassment of women students among
selected non-traditional major areas of

6. There is no difference between the two groups
(undergraduate women students and graduate women
students) in the frequency of occurrence of sex-
ual harassment.

7. There is no relationship between attitudes and
beliefs of women students towards sexual harass-
ment and their experiences of sexual harassment.

Definition of Terms

Sexual harassment for the purpose of this study, sexual harass-

ment was defined as the manifestations of sex bias and sex-role stereo-

typing in the behaviors and attitudes of an individual in a position

of power or control. More specific behaviors included: sexist re-

marks and jokes, inappropriate physical contact, unwanted sexual

attention, and negotiations for grades/letters of recommendation based

upon a student's willingness to cooperate in sexual activity.

The Project on the Status and Education of Wcmnn defined male

sexual harassment at its extreme occurring when:

a male in a position to control, influence, or
affect a wmnan's job, career, or grades uses his
authority and power to coerce the women into sexual
relations or to punish her refusal. (Project on the
Status and Education of Womnn 1978, p. 2)

Stereotype -

a standardized mental picture held in common
by members of a group and representing an over-
simplified opinion, affective attitude, or un-
critical judgement (as of a person, a race, an
issue, or an event). (Webster's Third New Inter-
national Dictionary 1976, p. 2238)

Professional a person involved in:

a vocation or occupation requiring advanced
training in some liberal art or science, and usu-
ally involving mental rather than manual work, as
teaching, engineering, writing, etc.; especially
medicine, law, or theology. (Webster's New World
Dictionary 1957, p. 1163)

Traditional) -- "conforming to tradition; conventional; custom-

ary." For the purpose of this study, the traditional professional

major area of study was education (Webster's New World Dictionary 1957,

p. 1544).

Non-traditional the major areas of study that were not custom-

ary pursuits for women, to be considered by this study were: den-

tistry, engineering, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine.

Frequency the number of women who responded "yes" to the per-

sonal experience items on the questionnaire.

Outline of the Remainder of the Study

The remainder of the study is presented in four chapters:

Chapter II presents a review of related pertinent research
and literature in order to provide a theoretical foundation
in support of the study.

Chapter III provides an outline of the methodology that was
utilized to complete the study.

Chapter IV adduces the results of the study.

Chapter V presents a discussion of the results of the study
and introduces implications generated by the study.



A review of the literature demonstrates that men and masculine

stereotypic traits are more highly valued in our society than are

women and stereotypically female traits. Male attributes, such as

independence, assertiveness, confidence, ambition, activeness, strength,

and logic, cluster to form the behaviors that may be interpreted as

competence. The stereotypic perceptions of women are characterized by

a relative absence of these qualities. Wcmen are assigned traits that

cluster to form behaviors that may be interpreted as nurturing and

emotional (Broverman, Vogel, Brovennan, Clarkson, and Rosenkrantz 1972;

Maccoby and Jacklin 1974; Shinar 1975).

Occupational stereotypes exist as a limiting factor for women who

seek the opportunity for total utilization of their talents. Sex-role

stereotypes are societal creations, so pervasive that they may be the

major determinant of an individual's behavior, learning experiences,

and career options (Appley 1977; Shinar 1975).

The world of work. Sex roles and sex-appropriate behavior extend

to the occupational world and define this world by sexual dimensions.

Literature on occupational stereotypes indicates that the phenomenon is

as pervasive and cohering as sex-role stereotypes (Harris 1974;

Schlossberg and Goodman 1972; Shinar 1975). Sex-role and occupational

stereotyping produce and perpetuate an environment conducive to acts

of sexual harassment of women. Sexual harassment of women in the world


of work is pervasive and pertinacious and will remain so until stereo-

types are dispelled and equity is achieved (Farley 1978; MacKinnon

1979). The stereotypically feminine characteristics of submissiveness,

compliance, and dependency leave women vulnerable to the dominance of

males in every aspect of our society (Maccoby and Jacklin 1974).

Higher education. The world of education, especially higher edu-

cation, is not innune from the effects of sex-role and occupational

stereotyping (Clark 1977; Feldran 1974; Group for the Advancement of

Psychiatry 1975; Rossi 1973). The academic environment echoes societal


The college or university frequently, if not always,
mirrors the attitudes of the general society toward
wonen and, despite stated goals to the contrary, at
times inadvertently reinforces many of these attitudes.
(Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry 1975, p. 35)

The literature demonstrates the overwhelming dominance of males

in administration and position of rank over their female colleagues in

academia (Clark 1977; Farley 1978; National Center for Educational

Statistics [NCES] 1979). Sexual discrimination of women permeates the

academic community:

Perhaps no form of discrimination remains more per-
vasive or invidious among educators than that existing
towards women. Although improvements have occurred,
the spirit of new legislation will exert little effect
without attitude changes among the faculty who can en-
courage women to utilize their new opportunities.
Although discrimination may have become implicit
rather than explicit, it still results in differen-
tial treatment according to sex in academia. As
agents in higher education, we must seriously re-
examine our own attitudes and behaviors towards sex
roles, particularly the roles of academic women.
(Clark 1977, p. 103)

Female students are exposed primarily to male professors. The

power inherent in the student-teacher relationship provides the op-

portunity for sexual harassment, primarily of female students (Project

on the Status and Education of Women 1978). Title IX of the 1972

Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in education. It has

been decided by the lower courts that sexual harassment of students

constitutes sexual discrimination in education.

Sexual harassment is considered to be sexual discrimination under

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This law now provides recourse

for victims of sexual harassment in employment (Michigan Law Review

1978). Unlike sexual harassment of wcmen in the working world, the

existence and the extent of the problem have not been investigated in


Occupational Stereotyping

Sex-stereotyping of occupations is evident in individuals as

early as five years of age. Research indicates that children from

kindergarten through sixth grade perceive occupations as "feminine" or

'masculine" (Schlossberg and Goodman 1972; Harris 1974). This was

demonstrated by Schlossberg and Goodman's (1972) study in which the

children were asked to indicate which jobs men and/or women could fill.

The subjects clearly indicated that women could not fix automobiles or

television sets nor could they design buildings. They could, however,

be nurses, librarians, and waitresses. Approximately 83 percent of the

girls and 97 percent of the boys chose an occupation for themselves

that was traditional for their sex.

Sex stereotyping of occupations was also found to be evident among

college students. The results of Shinar's (1975) study imply that both

college men and women clearly define sexual stereotypes of occupations.

Students rated 129 occupations in terms of masculinity, neutrality, or

femininity on a seven-point bipolar scale. Sixty-eight occupations,

including engineer, dentist, surgeon, district attorney, and veteri-

narian, were rated as masculine. With the same range of three points

on the scale, only 16 occupations were ranked as feminine. Just two

of the "feminine" occupations require college degrees, elementary school

teacher and registered nurse. Stereotypic attitudes relegate females

to occupations that are less desirable than those of males:

It seems reasonable to assume that those occupa-
tions stereotypically associated with high levels
of competence, rationality, and assertion are
viewed as masculine occupations, whereas those
occupations stereotypically associated with depen-
dence, passivity, nurturance, and interpersonal
warmth are perceived as feminine occupations.
(Shinar 1975, p. 108)

The findings of this study of college students' subjective ratings

significantly parallel the objective reality of the proportions of

men and women in various occupations (Shinar 1975). The National

Commission on Working Women reports that out of 441 occupations listed

in the Census Classification System, the majority of women were found

in only 20 (Network News and Notes 1978).

Sex-stereotypical views of occupations may be perpetuated by those

who influence young women and men in their career decisions. Research

indicates that career and vocational counselors as well as other

"helping professionals" do hold sex-stereotypic perceptions of occupa-

tions (Bingham and House 1975; Schlossberg and Peitrofesa 1973;

Thomas and Stewart 1971).

A 1973 study of secondary school counselors demonstrates the sex-

stereotypic attitudes of counselors towards women. Male counselors

tended to agree that a woman's most important function was '"motherhood."

The researchers concluded that ". .girls who do feel uncertain about

their careers might anticipate greater support on some important dimen-

sions of vocational behavior from female rather than male counselors"

(Bingham and House, p. 22). In congruence with these findings, Thomas

and Stewart's (1971) study previously suggested that high school coun-

selors perceived girls with non-traditional career aspirations as more

in need of counseling than girls with conforming career goals. Re-

search conducted five years later implied that counselors' attitudes

toward women did not change. In Ahrons (1976) study of approximately

300 school counselors, she determined that counselors perceived women

as deviant if they chose occupations that were incompatible with their

sex-role. Medvene and Collins (1976) indicated similar findings in

their study of school counselors, psychotherapists, and graduate

students. School counselors were most likely to rate certain occupa-

tions as inappropriate for women. Similarily, Donahue and Costar

(1977) concluded that school counselors discriminated in their occu-

pational choices for women. Approximately 300 counselors were given

case studies of six students and were asked to select an appropriate

occupation for each student. The case studies were identical with the

exception of the sex of the student. Females were more frequently

assigned to lower-paying occupations which required less education

and more supervision.

The implication of this and similar research are clear.

counselor bias exists against women entering a masculine occupation"

(Schlossberg and Peitrofesa 1973, p. 48). This is reinforced by

findings in a study of women with medical school aspirations. Pro-

fessionals who conduct psychovocational evaluations and counseling as

part of their daily routine perceived females with medical school as-

pirations as less psychologically adjusted than males with the same

aspirations. In essence the study suggests ". . the existence of

more prejudice against the unconventional woman by more experienced

traditional counselors" (Abramowitz, Weitz, Schwartz, Amira, and Gcmez,

1975, p. 130). In sumnary, the research demonstrates that young women

may be discouraged or not encouraged to pursue occupations that are

deemed "inappropriate" for their stereotype.

Occupational segregation as a component and result of occupational

stereotyping further defines and confines career options for both


Occupational segregation refers to the situation
in which minorities and women have different occu-
pations or types of jobs regardless of where or
for whom they work. In a hospital setting, for
example, a majority male typically is a doctor, a
women is a nurse, and a minority male is an orderly.
This type of extreme separation of employees may be
found in a variety of industries and appears to have
been even more camnon in the past. (United States
Commission on Civil Rights 1978, p. 39)

In 1970, a minimum of 65.8 percent of the majority of females

would have needed to change occupations in order to have an occupational

distribution identical to majority males. By 1976, an additional

.5 percent of majority females would have to make job changes to ob-

tain occupational equality. A greater discrepancy exists in the dis-

tribution of occupations between minority group females and majority

males (United States Ccmmnission on Civil Rights 1978).

Several consequences emanate from sex-typing and segregating of

occupations. One such consequence is exemplified in the lack of

career options for women. "In 1970, teaching and nursing accounted

for 63 percent of the professional women in the U.S." (In Wolleat,

Parker, and Rodenstein 1978, p. 106). An additional consequence of

occupational segregation is that although women have been changing

jobs and attaining higher levels of education, they have not achieved

equity of income:

Women workers are concentrated in low paying, dead-
end jobs. As a result, the average women worker
earns only about three-fifths of what a man does,
even when both work full-time year round. The
median wage or salary income of year round, full-
time workers in 1977 was lowest for minority race
wamen $8,383. For white women it was $8,787;
minority men, $11,053; and white men, $15,230.
(U.S. Department of Labor 1979)

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1978) reports that in 1975,

college educated men earned $7,000 more than women. No college educated

female group in 1975 earned as much as 70 percent of the college edu-

cated male group. The Commission report states:

Majority female college graduates have averaged
earnings less than majority males with a high
school education. Although educational attainment
seems to be linked to earnings, people in different
groups with the same educational attainment certainly
do not earn the same income. This indicator, in con-
junction with the data on college attainment, reflects
a bleak picture for black young men and women and for
majority women. Those who do overcome the obstacles

to a college education find financial rewards sig-
nificantly lower than those for majority males.
(U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1978, p. 22).

Vertical stratification. Women are generally in positions that

are subordinate to men. Even in fields that are female-dominated such

as education, men are in the overwhelming majority in supervisory and

administrative positions (MacKinnon 1979). In 1970, 85 percent of the

elementary school teachers were women. However, in 1973, only 20 per-

cent of the elementary school principals were women (Giele 1978).

Women represent less than six percent of the chief executives of insti-

tutions of higher learning (Camnent 1979). In general, women remain

in inferior jobs congruent with their stereotype or they remain within

inferior status positions in the same type of work as men (MacKinnon


Women in the Professions

Professional women as a group are transcending the stereotypic

parameters that society has dictated. The cost for this transgression

into the male bastion of the professions is incurred by both the fe-

male transgressor and the profession as a whole. Women in professions

that are traditionally male-dcminated experience inequities in salaries,

promotions, and access to the "old boy network" (Kaplan and Pao 1977;

Wolleat et al. 1978). In professions that have traditionally had a

higher percentage of women, such as education, women continue to ex-

perience inequities (Admac and Graham 1978; Appley 1973).

As women enter the professions, the professions experience a de-

crease in status or prestige (Appley 1973, Gross 1967; Rossi and

Calderwood 1973; Toughey 1974). More specifically:


. even when women can enter "masculine" occu-
pations, they choose to specialize in the less
prestigious areas of a profession and hardly ever
reach the top levels. It is a vicious cycle: women
have a lower level of aspiration, there is a poor
support system, their level of aspiration is lowered
further, and so on. And even if they escape this
first set of socialization barriers, they are given
the boring jobs or the most tedious tasks in the
professions. If women do gain entry to a man's
profession in large numbers, it loses status and
becomes a woman's occupation, and thus provides
lowered salaries. If men enter a woman's occupa-
tion, they are given the higher level, higher
paying jobs. ( Appley 1973, p. 309)

In a recent study where college students were led to believe that

a high status occupation would increase its proportion of female pro-

fessionals, both the desirability and prestige of the occupation de-

clined. The high status occupations included in the study were

architect, college professor, lawyer, physician, and scientist (Touhey

1974). These findings paralleled the findings of a study investigating

proportions of women in the higher and lower status specialities within

the professions (Gross 1967). The author discovered that women in

medicine were found primarily in the areas of pediatrics, psychiatry,

and dermatology. Women were seldom employed among the ranks of neurol-

ogists and surgeons. A similar pattern occurred for women in the law

profession. Female lawyers tended to be involved in practices focusing

on divorce, juveniles, and welfare cases, rather than higher status

specialities such as corporate law (Gross 1967).

Traditionally, women in the professions have experienced disapproval

by significant others. Female professionals cross the boundaries of

their stereotype into traditionally male-dominated fields. Similar to

any minority overstepping their bounds, women experience disapproval

and doubt. American psychologist Gerhart Saenger writes:

. the existence of a sound self-esteem, which in
large measure depends upon successful identification
with one's group, is fundamental for the development
of well-adjusted personality. The feeling of being
accepted and accepting one's group is basic for the
individual's security. Where the group is con-
sidered inferior by the larger society, and member-
ship in it related to deprivations, a positive iden-
tification with the group and the development of
strong ties of belonging become difficult. (In
Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry [GAPJ 1975,
p. 120)

Stereotypic attitudes are often represented by myths. Women pro-

fessionals, as a minority with an imposed inferior role, must cope

with the impact of discrimination that is perpetuated by these myths.

In a study concerning women physicians, researchers were confronted

with the following responses:

"Women doctors do not practice enough to warrant
training them"-a general practitioner.
"I have never met a woman doctor who worked as
hard as I do"-surgeon and dean.
"I read in a journal somewhere that only 10%
of women who take the boards in internal medicine
ever practice"--woman faculty member of an inter-
nal medicine department. (Heins, Smock, and
Martindale 1979, p. 297)

The preceding statements were made in 1977 in the presence of one

of the authors. They represent myths about women in medicine. The

data obtained from this research refuted these myths. The study indi-

cated that 84 percent of the female compared to 96 percent of the male

respondents were employed full-time and the same percentage worked as

much as did male physicians. Women were engaged in dual roles as 87

percent of the women had the responsibility for households (Heins

et al. 1978).

Women who enter the professions experience doubt from others as

to their camnitment to a professional career. As shown earlier, some

male counselors believed that motherhood was a woman's primary function.

Truly, many professional women have a dual role, that of housewife or

mother, and as a professional:

Men believe, and women accept their belief, that
woman's role should be selfless, dedicated to being
man's helpmate, and any work or career on the part
of women should fill in the gaps of time and energy
left over from their primary obligations as wives
and mothers. This adaptive role is compatible with
a job as a laboratory assistant, engineering aide,
or medical technician, but not with responsible
careers as scientist, engineer, or doctor, except
for those rare Amazons among us who can live two
lifetimes in one. (Rossi 1965, p. 53)

Salaries- Women in all occupations experience salary inequities.

Women professionals are not excluded from the unequal pay for equal

work phenomenon:

Even with experience and job occupation held constant,
women earn less than men. A 1971 study of chemists'
salaries showed that with seniority held constant,
women who held Ph.D.'s earned less than men with
B.A.'s. Another study (1971) indicated that female
lawyers with 10 years experience earned 200% less
than their male colleagues with the same experience.
(Wolleat et al. 1978, p. 106)

Women scientists, except for new engineering and chemistry grad-

uates, receive lower salaries in every work setting, in every field,

with every employee, and at every degree level. The discrepancy in

salary grows with the age of the woman. For example, female micro-

biologists employed by the federal government earn an average salary

of $4,500 less than male microbiologists (Women in Action 1979).

Females in the professional and technical occupations earn 70 percent

of what males earn in the same occupations (Working Woman 1980). Over

1,100 females in science and engineering were surveyed as to their ex-

periences as professionals in their fields. The respondents indicated

that women in their fields conmnnly experienced sex-related job dis-

crimination in promotions, preparation for top level careers, and

salary and fringe benefits (Connolly and Burks 1977). Women account

for 11 percent of all physicians and 28 percent of all psychiatrists.

Psychiatry is one of the lowest paying specialities a physician can

pursue (Working Woman 1980).

Professionally trained women have unemployment rates two to five

times higher than males with the same level of training in the same

fields. For example:

. among all doctorates in history in 1977, 2.9%
of the men were unemployed and seeking employment,
compared with 10.4% of the women. In the social
sciences, the unemployment rate for men doctorates
was 1.0% and for women, 4.0%. ("Progress In Professional
Labor Force Is Mixed Bag," Winter 1978-79, p. 31).

Overcoming the barriers. Affirmative action and anti-discrinin-

ation legislation is assisting women in breaking down the barriers to

equality in education and employment. Nearly 1/4 of all women entering

college now are planning careers that have traditionally been dominated

by men. A recent study determined that these women are planning careers

in engineering, business, medicine, and law (Conment 1979). As a result:

Women have approximately doubled their proportion
of earned degrees in the sciences since 1970 and
quadrupled their share of engineering bachelor's
degrees. In medicine, their share of new M.D.
awards has jumped from 5% in the mid-1950's to 19%
in 1977; in dentistry from less than 1% to 7%; in
law from 5% to 19%; in veterinary medicine from

5% to 18%; and in engineering, from less than
1% to 4.5%. ("Progress In Professional Labor
Force Is Mixed Bag," Winter 1978-79, p. 31).

Education is a traditional career for women. However, education

at the post-secondary level is considered a non-traditional career for

women. Women are customarily teachers in elementary and secondary

schools. Rarely do women become full professors, as they usually re-

main in the lower salaried positions at lower levels of prestige for

longer periods of time than do their male counterparts (Giele 1978).

A study conducted by Robinson (1973) reveals that:

about half of all male faculty are in the top
two ranks of professor and associate professor,
while less than a quarter of all female faculty are
in senior positions. (Giele 1978, p. 272)

Several barriers for women in the professions have been identified.

Tangible factors such as promotions, salaries, fringe benefits, and

preparation for advancement are being addressed by legislation. Subtle

barriers, such as sex-stereotypic attitudes and perceptions of the

woman's role in society, cannot be legislated out of existence.

A recent study comparing attitudes of college and high school stu-

dents in the United States and Israel suggests that "occupational sex

stereotypes need not produce sex bias in the judgement of competence in

a particular field" (Mischel 1974, p. 166). This study demonstrates

that in a culture where professional opportunities for women are plen-

tiful and where women are treated as equal to men in their abilities in

a variety of fields, sex bias is not as apparent as in the United


Perhaps the most pervasive and consistent barrier to women's

quality and fair treatment is the sex-role stereotype. The perception

that women are passive, dependent, illogical, emotional, incompetent,

and serve society best as housewives, mothers, and sexual objects,

perpetuates a myth and promotes an underutilization of human talent.

These same stereotypes are what research has shown the 'mentally

healthy female" to be, according to college students, mental health

practitioners, and society as a whole (Broverman et al. 1972).

Such perceptions are contradictory to the traits and attributes

of those who pursue occupations within the scientific professions.

Over a decade ago, Alice Rossi determined four factors that have been

found to be characteristic of the scientist:

1. High intellectual ability, with particularly
high scores on tests of spatial and mathematical
2. Intense channeling of energy in one direction:
strikingly high persistence in the pursuit of
work tasks, to the point that most are happiest
when working.
3. Extreme independence, showing itself in child-
hood as a preference for a few close friends
rather than extensive or organized group mem-
bership, and preference for working on his
own; in adulthood as a marked independence of
relations with parents and a preference for
being free of all supervision, roaming in work
where his interests dictate.
4. Apartness from others, with extremely low interest
in social activities, showing neither preference
for an active social life nor guilt concerning
his socially withdrawn tendencies. (Rossi 1965,
p. 113)

The United States Government cannot legislate attitudes, but it

can provide an environment, through legislation, which encourages women

to enter fields of their choice with guarantees of equality. As more

women exert their career options and expose their abilities, they may

gain acceptance. These women, pioneer women, transgressing stereotypes

and confronting the barriers that exist in non-traditional fields play

an integral part in the process of changing societal beliefs.

Sexual Harassment as a Barrier to Occupational Equality

Affirmative action legislation strives toward the major goal of

occupational equality. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ad-

dresses the issue of equal employment opportunities. More explicitly:

It shall be unlawful employment practice for an
employer . to . discriminate against any
individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because
of such individual's race, color, religion, sex,
or national origin. ("Sexual Harassment and Title
VII," 1978, p. 1009)

The Federal Government is beginning to acknowledge sexual harass-

ment as a perpetrator of occupational segregation, vertical stratifi-

cation, and sexual discrimination in employment (Farley 1978;

MacKinnon 1979).


There is no precise or legal definition of sexual harassment; it

is broadly defined by MacKinnon (1979) as ". . the unwanted imposi-

tion of sexual requirements in the context of a relationship of unequal

power." Farley has expressed a more specific definition:

Sexual harassment is best described as unsolicited
nonreciprocal male behavior that asserts a woman's
sex role over her function as a worker. It can be
any or all of the following: staring at, commenting
upon, or touching a woman's body; requests for ac-
quiescence in sexual behavior; repeated nonrecipro-
cated propositions for dates; demands for sexual
intercourse; and rape. These forms of male behavior
frequently rely on superior male status in the culture,
sheer numbers, or the threat of higher rank at work

to exact compliance or levy penalties for re-
fusal. The variety of penalties include verbal
denigration of a woman sexually; noncooperation from
male co-workers; negative job evaluations or poor
personnel recommendations; refusal of overtime; de-
motions; injurious transfers and reassignments of
shifts, hours, or locations of work, loss of job
training; impossible performance standards and out-
right termination of employment. (1978, pp. 14-15)

There is a dearth of literature concerning sexual harassment. A

computer search demonstrated few sources of information. The descrip-

tors that were searched were sexual harassment, occupational stereo-

types, and non-traditional careers.

Relationship to Sex Roles

In Lin Farley's recent book, Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harass-

ment of Women on the Job, she defines sexual harassment in terms of sex-

role stereotypes (1978). MacKinnon, in her book, Sexual Harassment of

Working Women, reinforces the theory that sexual harassment is an ex-

pression of sex-stereotyping:

Sexual harassment is discrimination "based on sex"
within the social meaning of sex, as the concept is
socially incarnated in sex roles. Persuasive and
"accepted" as they are, these rigid roles have no
place in the allocation of social and economic re-
sources. If they are allowed to persist in these
spheres, economic equality for women is impossible.
(1979, p. 178)

The socialization of males and females in our society accounts for

differential treatment among the sexes:

In our culture the importance of sex-role conditioning
cannot be underestimated. In general, boys learn to
be independent, to initiate action, to be task-
oriented, rational, analytical. In contrast, girls
are schooled to empathy, noncompetitiveness, depen-
dency, nurturance, intuitiveness. These standards
continue to provide the model for "normal" behavior
and exert a powerful demand for conformity throughout
adult life. (Connolly and Greenwald in Farley 1978,
pp. 16-17)

Men are socialized to be dominant and aggressive in order to be

"masculine" in general and in sexual relations. Women's sex roles de-

fine femininity in terms of submissiveness, passiveness, and recep-

tiveness to the masculine initiative in general and in sexual relations.

Too often, what men learn makes them "a man," is the sexual conquest

of women. Women unfortunately are conditioned to be men's subordinates

and to meet men's needs (MacKinnon 1979).

Relationship to Occupational Segregation

Sexual harassment of women workers functions to perpetuate occu-

pational segregation (MacKinnon 1979). As long as occupations remain

sex-typed, those who seek employment inappropriate to their sex will

be considered social deviants subject to social sanctions (Epstein 1970).

Until recently, sexual harassment of wanen has been commonplace and

legally allowed, legally undefined, and a blatant expression of women's

inequality. The literature demonstrates a change, in that very recently

sexual harassment has been considered sexual discrimination and a vio-

lation of the law (MacKinnon 1979). Farley (1978) and MacKinnon (1979)

both agree that sexual harassment of women is so pervasive in American

society that it is nearly invisible. Men's control over women's

survival, in the home or on the job, and over women's learning and ed-

ucational advancement, has institutionalized the phenomenon. This

abuse has been acceptable for men to do and unacceptable for women to


Women tend to be employed in "women's" occupations. They tend to

have male superiors and are paid less than males, on the average, for

the same work. Occupational segregation means women perform certain

jobs because of their gender. Their sexuality is implicit, as is their

appropriate sex-role. Women employed in '"male" jobs are exceptions and

are often seen as "tokens." Women tend to remain in low ranking posi-

tions, dependent upon men for hiring, salary, promotion, and retention.

A male superior's sexual demands are backed by economic power. About

75 percent of working women were employed in wvmen's jobs in 1970.

In 1973, more than 40 percent of all women were employed in ten occu-

pations. Women are restricted to the bottom of the socio-economic

ladder in dead-end, low-skilled jobs because of their sex. Women's

work is considered inferior work, work that is of low interest, repet-

itive, predominantly service-oriented, high contact with customers,

involvement with children, and keeping things clean (Epstein 1970;

Women's Bureau 1976). Sexual harassment of women can occur precisely

because of women's occupational positions and job roles. Sexual ha-

rassment keeps women in such positions:

Sexual harassment at work critically undercuts
women's potential for work equality as a means
of social equality. Beyond survival, employment
outside the home may offer women some promise of
developing a range of capacities for which the
nurturing, cleaning, and servant role of house-
work and child care provide little outlet. A
job, no matter how menial, offers the potential
for independence from the nuclear family, which
makes women dependent upon men for life neces-
sities. The marketplace promises limits with
its impersonality. A woman may even be hired
to be a man's individual servant, but he is
supposed to own only her services, not herself.
Even if the substance of the work is identical
to that performed in the home, she is paid in a
medium that she can control in exchange.
(MacKinnon 1979, p. 216)

Farley states that "the function of sexual harassment in non-

traditional jobs is to keep women out; its function in the traditional

female sector is to keep women down" (1978, p. 90). Working women

throughout occupations are often subject to persistent male sexual

aggression. The abuses women suffer influence employment prospects

and opportunities and reinforce female powerlessness and submission.

Rejecting sexual advances usually ends in firing or quitting. The

oversupply of female labor creates an even more insecure employment

picture. Quitting or being fired from much-needed jobs holds serious

consequences for women (Parley 1978). "Nearly two-thirds of all

women in the labor force in 1978 were single, widowed, divorced, or

separated, or had husbands whose earnings were less than $10,000"

(Women's Bureau 1979, p. 1). MacKinnon (1979) theorizes that sexual

harassment may be a contributor to unemployment, absenteeism, turn-

over, and overall job dissatisfaction in the woman's world of work.

She does not ascertain whether these rates differ by sex, but suggests

careful scrutiny of these factors.

Sexual harassment is effective primarily because women hold low

employment status. Unfortunately, it is probably that men perceive

the potential encroachment of females into the job market, and partic-

ularly into their traditionally male-dominated occupations, as a threat.

Lin Farley states four reasons men oppose females entering the labor


. that women lower their wages, that women
will take their jobs, that women belong in the
home, and that women have no business trying
to compete with men. (1978, p. 53)

In summary, sexual harassment perpetuates lower wages, lower status

jobs, and "the interlocked structure by which women have been kept sex-

ually in thrall to men. . ." (MacKinnon 1979, p. 174)

Consequences of Sexual Harassment

The literature suggests that women who are sexually harassed

suffer consequences whether they choose to complain about the abuse

or tolerate it. Victims of sexual harassment appear to react simi-

larlyto rape victims. Feelings of guilt, humiliation, anger, and

degredation are common denominators (Farley 1978; MacKinnon 1979).

Physiological responses are not uncommon, such as in the case of

Carmita Wood:

Carmita Wood, a 44 year-old mother of five, was
an administrative assistant in a laboratory at
Cornell University. As her attorneys tell the
story, one of her bosses made constant sexual
gestures -- placing his hands on her buttocks,
leaning against her while she sat at the desk,
insisting that she dance with him at an office
party and shoving his hands up under her sweater
so far that her back was exposed. She began to
develop severe pains in her arms and neck that
would not respond to treatment. When she com-
plained to higher-ups, she was told that a mature
woman ought to be able to handle the situation.
Her symptoms became so severe that she left the
job; the pain disappeared. She was denied unem-
ployment because her reasons for leaving the job
were "personal." Wood has since been active with
Working Women United, the group helping her ap-
peal the decision. (Rivers 1978, p. 22)

In the Working Women United Institute's (WWUI) survey of women

who had been sexually harassed, 78 percent of the sample reported an

emotional or physical effect. Of those surveyed, 78 percent reported

feeling "angry," 23 percent "frightened," 48 percent "upset," and

7 percent "indifferent." In addition, 27 percent reported feeling

"alienated," "alone," "helpless," or other. Almost 25 percent in one

survey reported feeling "guilty" (MacKinnon 1979). A compilation of

responses further demonstrates the consequences of sexual harassment:

As I reff-nber all the sexual abuse and negative
work experience I am left feeling sick and help-
less and upset instead of angry. . Reinforced
feelings of no control -- sense of doom. . I
have difficulty dropping the emotion barrier I
work behind when I care home from work. My hus-
band turns into just another man. . Kept me
in a constant state of emotional agitation and
frustration; I drank a lot. . Soured the es-
sential delight in the work. . Stomachache,
migraines, cried every night, no appetite.
(MacKinnon 1979, p. 47)

For those waoen who wish to end the discomfort of sexual harass-

ment, their options are few and many times more severe than the ha-

rassment. A review of the literature shows some obnoxious consequen-

ces both for those who attempt to ignore the situation and for those

who complain (Farley 1978). In one survey, approximately 76 percent

of those who ignored the harassment found that the advances intensified

(MacKinnon 1979). Women are often justified in being reluctant to

report the incidents to their superiors:

Most male superiors treat it as a joke, at best
it's not serious. . Even more frightening,
the woman who speaks out against her tormnnentors
runs the risk of suddenly being seen as crazy, a
weirdo, or even worse, a loose woman. Company of-
ficials often laugh it off or consider the women
now available to themselves as well. One factory
worker reports: "I went to the personnel manager
with a complaint that two men were propositioning
me. He promised to take immediate action. When
I got up to leave, he grabbed my breast and said,
'Be nice to me and I'll take care of you.' "
(In MacKinnon 1979, p. 49)

Ms. Farley's (1978) book is an anthology of interviews with a

common thread of devastating consequences for most of the women in-

volved. The consequences for women reporting abuses to superiors in-

clude transfer, demotions, salary cuts, and job losses, to mention but

a few. All other literature reviewed exposes the same results; that

until recently, most women had little recourse but to quit their jobs.

Leaving a job because of sexual harassment usually promises a poor

letter of recommendation for future employment. As mentioned pre-

viously, sane states are providing unemployment compensation for

people who leave jobs because of sexual harassment. For those women

who have chosen to file complaints under Title VII legislation, the

results have generally been favorable.


Sexual harassment is a problem that is broad in scope. Until

1976, when Working Women United coined the term "sexual harassment,"

there was no expression to describe the phenomenon (MacKinnon 1979).

If sexual harassment is both a manifestation of sex-role stereotyping

and a promoter of occupational segregation, then it can be expected

to be ubiquitous:

Sexual harassment is much too widespread to be
viewed as random rather than representative of
male mistreatment of working women. It results
in a pattern of female job loss. Sexual harass-
ment accordingly has a marked negative influence
on women's labor-market behavior. (Farley 1978,
p. 45)

Sexual harassment is a common occurrence throughout the world of

work. The pervasiveness of this phenomenon is being studied primarily

through the use of surveys. To date, several surveys have revealed an

approximation of the presence of these abuses. The first survey con-

cerning sexual harassment was distributed by the Women's Section of the

Human Affairs Program at Cornell University, in May of 1975. Of the

155 responses, 70 percent had personally experienced some form of sex-

ual harassment. Fifty-six percent of these reported physical harassment.


Harassment was defined as ". .any repeated and unwanted sexual com-

ments, looks, suggestions or physical contact that you find objection-

able or offensive and causes you discomfort on your job" (Farley 1978,

p. 20).

Over 9,000 women responded to a 1976 Redbook magazine question-

naire concerning sexual harassment. Approximately 88 percent had ex-

perienced some form of sexual harassment, and 48 percent knew of job

loss due to harassment (Alliance Against Sexual Coercion [AASC] 1979).

The Redbook survey concluded "the problem in not epidemic--it is

pandemic--an everyday, everywhere occurrence" (Rivers 1978, p. 22).

A naval officer used the Redbook questionnaire on a sample of women

on a naval base and in a nearby town, and 81 percent reported exper-

iencing "employment-related sexual harassment in some form" (MacKinnon

1979, p. 27).

An informal survey conducted at the United Nations of 875 women

and men demonstrated that 50 percent of the women and 31 percent of the

men either experienced or were aware of experiences of sexual harassment.

Only 1/3 of those women who experienced the abuse reported it (MacKinnon

1979). The Rape Information and Counseling Service in Springfield,

Illinois, has established a task force to survey approximately 8,000

women workers in that area. The dual purpose of the survey is to "pro-

vide insight into the manifestations and effects of sexual harassment,

and to raise the consciousness of women in this ared' (Sexuality Today.

1979, p. 3).

A House of Representatives subcommittee was established to investi-

gate sexual harassment of federally employed women ("Sexual Advances" 1979).



The chairperson of the committee, Representative James Hanley, stated

that an investigation has shown that sexual harassment is "everywhere"

in the federal government ("Sexual Advances Charged," 1979). A recent

airing of the MacNeil/Lahrer Report was devoted to the issue of sexual


. an unofficial questionnaire triggered the
official concern here in Washington over sexual
harassment. It was a survey done among employees
of one federal agency, the Department of Housing
and Urban Development. One hundred and sixty-three
women claimed pay raises at HUD hinged on sexual
favors. Thirty percent of the women said they
went along, and a majority of those were in fact
rewarded with more pay. From that basic revelation
came the Congressional subcommittee hearings.
Today was the final day of testimony, and officials
of several agencies testified. Among other things,
there was a pledge to make a fuller, more scientific
survey to determine the extent of the problem in the
federal government as a whole, and to set up training
for employees and supervisors on how to deal with it.
One of the most vexing aspects of the problem to
emerge from the hearings has been the problem of
defining what sexual harassment actually is. (Bluff

On that same television program, Eleanor Holmes Norton of the

Equal Employment Opportunity Comnission in reference to the size and

solution of the problem stated:

. it is obviously large, depending your sic
definition. I think that the courts have settled
the questions of whether it is a problem, short of
some kind of assault . they've made it clear and
defined the conduct; to be sure, you have to prove
it, but it's pretty clear that conduct short of the
extreme kind of conduct you're talking about has by
the courts already been labeled as a violation of
the statute. . I want to emphasize that we
would prefer that this problem not be dealt with in
the remedial process through the courts. I have
taken the position that I believe that there is only
one real cure for this problem, and that is to pre-
vent it . we are going to be dealing with this
problem through requiring that agencies in their af-
firmative action plans make it clear that this is a
violation of the law and delineate steps to bring it

to people's attention. We believe that if most men
realized that this was considered a violation of the
law, that the employer will in fact look upon it as
such. . (Bluff 1979).

The prevalence of sexual harassment has necessitated the forma-

tion of an organizational structure to deal with the many aspects of

the problem. The Working Women United Institute (WWUI) is a New York

city based national research center which focuses on sexual harassment

of working women. The WWUI is preparing a national survey on sexual

harassment, as well as providing information, referrals, workshops,

and legal and professional counseling. The WWUI has counseled over

600 women complaining of sexual harassment (Bluff 1979).

Several state legislatures are beginning the process of enacting

laws concerning sexual harassment in employment. In February, 1978, a

bill concerning sexual harassment became part of Wisconsin state law.

The bill prohibits sexual harassment in employment and provides for un-

employment compensation for people who quit their jobs because of sex-

ual harassment (Ms. 1978). Both New York and California have awarded

claimants unemployment compensation when they were forced to leave

their jobs because of sexual harassment (Farley 1978). In fact, law-

suits have been filed and compensation awarded for back pay and attorney's

fees in sexual harassment cases. Several cases have been filed under

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimin-

ation in employment.

Review of Title VII Cases

Approximately 37 women have filed state or federal lawsuits as-

serting that they were sexually harassed in their workplaces (Bluff

1979). In five of the cases filed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil

Rights Act, the courts did not agree that sexual harassment was sexual

discrimination under the law:

In five of the seven cases which have created the
substantive law in this area, the district courts
initially held that a claim alleging sexual harass-
ment does not state a cause of action under Title
VII. Three of the district court decisions were
reversed on appeal on three different interpreta-
tions of the statute. ("Sexual Harassment and
Title VII," 1978, pp. 1010-1011)

Sexual Harassment as Sex Discrimination

In Williams v. Saxbe, 1976, Diane Williams alleged that she was

terminated from her job with the Department of Justice because she re-

fused her superior's sexual advances. She was fired from her job in

1972 on 25 minutes notice, several days after filing a sex discrimination

complaint against her supervisor. The court found sexual harassment to

be sexual discrimination under Title VII (Seymour 1979). The rationale

for the court's ruling was briefly explained as follows:

The conduct of the plaintiff's supervisor created
an artificial barrier to employment which was
placed before one gender and not the other, despite
the fact that both genders were similarly situated.
("Sexual Harassment and Title VII," 1978, p. 1012)

The Williams' case caused a turning point in the rulings of cases

in which women allege sexual harassment at the workplace. The ruling

in the Williams' case was followed by reversals in two previous sexual

harassment cases. The reversal of the Tomkins v. Public Service Elec-

tric and Gas Company (1976) demonstrated that the company or corpora-

tion can be held liable for the actions of its supervisory personnel

unless it takes prompt action to remedy the situation. The Tomkins

case was that of a single incident of sexual harassment followed by

repercussions for Ms. Tomkins. The company took no action on the

plaintiff's complaints. The following is a brief account of the

situation as it occurred:

Adrienne Tomkins, a secretary, was invited to lunch
by her boss, ostensibly to discuss his recommendation
for her promotion. When it became apparent that work
was not going to be discussed, Tomkins said she wished
to return to work. By threats of retaliation against
her as an employee, threats of physical force, and
finally exercise of physical restraint, her boss kept
her at the bar against her will for several hours.
He expressed a desire to have sexual relations with
her, saying it was necessary to their satisfactory
working relationship. When she tried to leave, he
physically prevented her. . Her boss grabbed her
and kissed her on the mouth.
. Tonkins requested and was promised a transfer to
a comparable position. . She temporarily took an
inferior position. Over a period of months, her new
superior threatened demotions, charged that she was
incapable of holding the position, pressured her to
take a salary cut, and solicited and gathered unfavor-
able material about her and had it placed in her per-
sonnel file. She was twice put on disciplinary lay-
off without just cause and was finally terminated.
Her complaints to the company . were not investi-
gated. (MacKinnon 1979, pp. 66-70)

The seven cases decided to date hold most of their components in

common. In each case, there were explicit demands by the woman's in-

mediate supervisor for sexual relations. In each case there were alle-

gations of verbal abuse, sexual comments, reprimands, and physical force.

"Each employment situation worsened significantly after the alleged

harassment" ("Sexual Harassment and Title VII," 1978, p. 1017).

Employer Responsibility

In Garber v. Saxon Business Products (1977), Ms. Garber refused

to partake in sexual relations with her supervisor and was thus re-

fused a promised raise and promotion. In 1977, the Fourth Circuit

Court of Appeals found that sexual advances by supervisory personnel

"allege an employer policy or acquiescence in practice of female em-

ployees to submit to sexual advances of their male supervisors in vio-

lation of Title VII" (MacKinnon 1979, p. 69).

In the case of Heelan v. Johns-Manville Corporation (1978), sig-

nificant strides were gained in defining the employer's responsibility

in cases of sexual harassment. This was the first case of sexual ha-

rassment to go to trial. Ms. Heelan was fired for refusing sexual re-

lations with her supervisor. The company did nothing to investigate or

rectify the situation despite Ms. Heelan's complaints. Although there

was no established procedure for complaints of sexual harassment,

Ms. Heelan confided in several co-workers and the administrative assis-

tant to the president. As a result:

After notice of the termination, she also complained
to the executive vice president, who telephoned the
perpetrator. "Consigli denied any wrongdoing and the
matter was dropped." The court in essence found the
company's investigation of the problem inadequate to
its notice of it. The depth and scope of the inquiry
conducted by the company, which amounted to asking
the perpetrator whether he did it or not, were held
insufficiently thorough to satisfy its Title VII
obligation. The judge concluded that "if the em-
ployer fails to respond to a valid complaint, it

effectively condones illegal acts." Mary Heelan
recovered damages in the form of back pay and lost
employment benefits, as well as attorneys' fees.
(MacKinnon 1979, p. 77)

It is now clear that employers have a responsibility to investi-

gate complaints of sexual harassment. The literature demonstrates that

if an employee is terminated or continually harassed for refusing to

cooperate in sexual relations with her supervisor, the employer may be

held liable, especially if there is no reporting or complaint procedure.

The employer may also be held liable if a complaint is filed and the

incident is not fully investigated. No case has found its way to the

Supreme Court. If, however, the findings of the lower courts are ulti-

mately upheld by the Supreme Court, more women are likely to bring

lawsuits against their harassers and/or employers, as the most effective

recourse to sexual harassment (Tillar 1979).

Governmental Response

An employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

conducted an informal survey concerning sexual harassment of federal em-

ployees and made the results public. The Subcommittee on Investigations

of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service was prompted to con-

duct an investigation into the matter. Hearings were held before the

subcommittee during October and November of 1979 (Women in Action 1980).

As a result of these hearings, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

has distributed an official policy statement to all federal agencies

and departments condemning acts of sexual harassment. It is the respon-

sibility of the OPM to insure that employees work in an environment

that is free frcm discrimination. The OPM will also be incorporating

a training module into supervisory, managerial, and personnel courses.

They will attempt to reach approximately 50,000 employees annually.

All agencies of the federal government will receive training modules

(Women in Action 1980).

Chairwoman Ruth Prokop testified before the U.S. House of Repre-

sentatives Subcomnittee on Investigations that the Merit Systems Pro-

tection Board proposes a survey of federal employees concerning sexual

harassment. The survey addresses the following issues:

The degree to which sexual harassment is oc-
curring within the Federal workplace, its mani-
festations and frequency;
Whether the victims (or perpetrators) of sexual
harassment are found in disproportionate numbers
within certain agencies, job classifications, geo-
graphic locations, racial categories, age brackets,
educational levels, grade levels, etc.;
What kinds of behavior are perceived to constitute
sexual harassment and whether the attitudes of men
and women differ in this respect;
What forms of expressed or implied leverage have
been used by harassers to reward or punish their
Whether victims of sexual harassment are unaware of
available remedies and whether they have any confi-
dence in them;
The impact of sexual harassment on its victims in
terms of job turnover, work performance, their phy-
sical or emotional condition, and their financial
or career well-being; and,
The effect of sexual harassment on the morale or
productivity of the immediate work group. (Women
in Action 1980, p. 3)

Incidents of sexual harassment can be reported through several

channels. These channels vary according to the employing agency. The

results of the survey will be used to formally define sexual harassment.

When the issue is defined, it will be used in agency evaluations.

Specific questions concerning sexual harassment will be used in in-

terviews by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with em-

ployees, supervisors, and managers (Women in Action 1980).

Recent developments. The Center for the Studies of Women in

Educational Managenent Systems is presently conducting a study of

women professionals in the higher education system of Florida. The


. is being conducted to assess the nature and
potential career implications of socio-sexual
interactions between professional men and women
in the State of Florida. (Myers 1980, p. 1)

The Pentagon has found it necessary to issue orders to commanders

of the Arnned Forces because of sexual harassment complaints. The policy

states that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that offenders

should be "swiftly and fairly" disciplined (Boodman 1980).

Institutional Sexism


The literature review up to this point demonstrates that occupa-

tional stereotypes, occupational segregation, and vertical stratifi-

cation are manifestations of sex-role stereotyping. The institution

of higher education is not immune from such discriminatory attitudes

and behaviors (Epstein 1970; Feldman 1974; Coment 1979).

Sexism is defined by the Office of Education, Health, and Welfare


The collection of attitudes, beliefs, and be-
haviors which result from the assumption that
one sex is superior. (Federal Register 1975,
No. 155)

Inherent in this definition is the assumption that people of the

same sex have predictable interests and abilities. The definition

continues to explain:

In the context of schools, the term refers to
the collection of structures, policies, prac-
tices, and activities that overtly or covertly
prescribe the development of girls and boys and
prepare them for traditional sex-roles. (Federal
Register 1975, No. 155)

An extensive study by Feldran conducted for the Carnegie Connission

on Higher Education in 1973 reinforces the assumption that sexism exists

in the institution of higher education. This report focuses on the in-

equities facing women faculty and female graduate students. In addition

to the underrepresentation of faculty and graduate students, the

Commission's report investigates discriminatory attitudes toward women.

Feldman's report acknowledges that sexism exists in the college


A recurring theme is that many of the difficulties
that academic women face may be largely the result
of a tradition of antifemale discriminatory be-
havior within academia.
Antifemale attitudes are evident in subtle as well
as unsubtle ways. (1974, p. 9)

As is the case in the world of work, academic disciplines are

viewed as masculine or feminine:

We thus see an occupational sorting pattern that is
strongly sex-related. This is true not only in the
occupation system but within higher education as
well. Obviously, the two are related, but there has
been little systematic or empirical study of the
characteristics of "masculine" or "feminine" academic
disciplines. The education of women in America has
been marked by a tradition that certain disciplines
are more proper for women than others. (Feldman 1974,
p. 38)

The Carnegie Cnnmission' s study did not determine a causal rela-

tionship between the gender students perceive appropriate and the en-

rollment in various areas of study. It was determined that certain

fields are viewed as feminine and others are masculine and that under-

graduates are aware of the distinction. The undergraduate students

studied reflected perceptions that were accurate in terms of actual

female and male enrollment patterns. There was no determination or

investigation as to whether females would be reluctant to enter fields

or pursue studies in areas that are non-traditional for their sex.

Profile of Undergraduate Women Students

Bachelor's level. In 1977, women accounted for 46.2 percent of

the recipients of bachelor's degrees in the United States. Women con-

tinue to predominate fields in which they have customarily held a

majority: foreign languages, health professions, home economics,

letters, and library science. Since 1974, psychology has been pre-

dominantly a female field with 50.5 percent of the degree recipients

being female. In 1977, this percentage grew to 56.7 percent (National

Center for Educational Statistics [NCES] 1979).

Women have been making the greatest gains in fields which have

traditionally been dominated by males. Since 1971, women have shown

a decrease or no change in the numbers of degrees awarded in tradi-

tional women's fields:

In 1971, there were eight fields in which women
accounted for less than 20 percent of the bachelor's
degrees awarded. These were: agriculture and na-
tural resources, architecture and environmental
design, business and management, computer and infor-
mation sciences, engineering, law, military science,

and physical sciences. In 1977, the women's per-
centages had risen to above 20 for all except two
of these fields. The exceptions were engineering
and military science. (NCES 1979, pp. 3, 5).

Education is the most popular field for women. However, in 1971,

education accounted for 36 percent of all bachelor's degrees awarded

to women, while in 1977 it accounted for only 25 percent (NCES 1979).

In contrast to the field of education, women in the field of engineering

comprised about 11 percent of the Fall 1977 entering class (NCES 1979).

The six top ranking fields for wanen accounted for about 79 per-

cent of women' degrees in 1971, and 67 percent in 1977. This trend

indicates a diversification in the degree fields being pursued by

women. The corresponding figure for men in 1977 was 66.5 percent.

This demonstrates that "men and women are essentially equal with re-

gard to their diversification across fields of study" (NCES 1979, p. 6).

Master's level. Women as graduate students on the master's level

comprise a majority in most major areas of study. Women master's de-

gree recipients in 1971 were predominant in six fields: education,

foreign languages, health professions, home economics, letters, and

library science. In 1977, women still received the majority of

master's degrees in those six fields plus fine and applied arts

(NCES 1979).

All of these fields have traditionally been
regarded as women's fields. With the excep-
tion of health professions, none of them would
appear to offer good prospects for employment
today. (NCES 1979, p. 11).

Women were awarded 47.1 percent of all master's degrees in 1977.

This is an increase from 40.1 percent in 1971. In fact, the percentage

of women receiving master's degrees in 1977 decreased in home econom-

ics, library science, and public affairs and services (NCES 1979).

The field of education accounted for over half of the master's degrees

awarded to women in both 1971 and 1977. "Thus, women are still highly

concentrated in the education field in spite of a relatively poor job

market for teachers" (NCES 1979, p. 12)

Doctoral level. Women were awarded 14.3 percent of all doctoral

degrees in 1971 and 24.3 percent of all doctoral degrees in 1977.

This may be misleading in that there was a decrease in the actual

number of doctoral degrees awarded to women. In 1971, 27,534 doctoral

degrees were awarded to women, whereas in 1977, only 25,150 doctoral

degrees were awarded to women (NCES 1979). Although women represent

about 25 percent of the doctoral degree recipients, they account for

about half of all bachelor's and master's degree recipients. Further

investigation into the data demonstrates that women are making gains

in awards of doctoral degrees primarily in women's fields:

The 1971 data indicate that women predominated in
only one field: home economics, where they accounted
for 61 percent of the doctoral degrees. The 1977
data show the women predominating in three fields:
foreign languages (51.5 percent); home economics
(77.0 percent); and library science (53.3 percent).
All of these are generally regarded as women's
fields and, it might be noted, these are very small
fields in terms of number of degrees awarded. The
three fields together accounted for only 987 doc-
toral degrees in 1977 (men and women combined), out
of a grand total of 33,244 degrees. (NCES 1979,
p. 15)

In terms of percentage representation, women are making their

greatest gains in fields which are traditionally women's fields. In

contrast to the bachelor's and master's levels, women at the doctoral

level are making the smallest gains in non-traditional fields.

It may be conjectured that the complex sociocultural
forces which are influencing women to enter nontra-
ditional fields of study have not been operating
long enough to be manifest at the highest degree
levels. If this is so, then the trends already ob-
served at the bachelor's and master's degree levels
may soon be evident at the doctoral degree level.
(NCES 1979, p. 17)

Once again, education remains the most popular field for both men

and women degree recipients. Education accounted for 1/3 of all women's

doctoral degrees in 1977. Psychology was the second most popular field

for women, accounting for 12.2 percent of the doctoral degrees awarded

to wcmen. Letters (10.4 percent) and social sciences (10.3 percent)

were the only other fields accounting for more than 10 percent of women

doctorates (NCES 1979). Approximately 80 percent of all doctoral de-

grees awarded to women were in the same six fields as the master's

degrees: education, psychology, letters, social sciences, biological

sciences, and foreign languages (NCES 1979).

First Professional Degree Level

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) defines the

first professional degree as a degree which meets the following criteria:

(1) it signifies completion of the academic re-
quirements to begin practice in the profession;
(2) it is based on a program which requires at
least two years of college work prior to entrance;
and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of
college work is required to complete the degree
program, including prior required college work
plus the length of the professional curriculum
itself. (1979, p. 17)

The data demonstrates modest gains in representation of women

among first professional degree recipients from 1971 to 1977. Women

are most highly represented in pharmacy (27.5 percent); veterinary

medicine (22.8 percent); law (22.5 percent); and medicine (19.2 per-

cent). Women remain a noticeable minority in all of the professional

fields (NCES 1979).

Women's largest gains were in the professional fields of veteri-

nary medicine where they increased by 15 percent and medicine where

they increased the number of degrees by 10 percent from 1972 to 1977.

Law is the most popular professional degree, accounting for 63.9 per-

cent of all women's first professional degrees in 1977. Although

medicine is the second most popular degree for women, there was a 12

percent decline in the number of degrees awarded to women from 1971

to 1977. The top three professional degrees for both sexes are law,

medicine, and theology:

Law and medicine account for 71.4 percent of the
men's first professional degrees. The corres-
ponding value for women was 85.3 percent. Thus,
it appears that men are somewhat more diversified
than women in the choice of field of professional
training. (NCES 1979, p. 24)

A Profile of Professional Women in Academia

Occupational segregation and stereotyping are realities in every

occupation and profession in America (Epstein 1970). Education is a

traditional profession for women at the elementary and secondary levels.

However, careers in higher education are non-traditional for women.

Higher education is a male-dominated community where discrimination of

academic women remains predominant. In fact, women faculty have yet

to attain equity in salaries, in ranks, in tenure status, and in rep-

resentation in the university community (Clark 1977; Feldman 1974;

Smith and Borgers 1974; Canment 1979). In 1973, female university in-

structors earned $3,458 less than the national average of male instruc-

tors (Smith and Borgers 1974). Anti-discrimination legislation and af-

firmative action policies do not appear to be factors causing great

strides towards equality for women faculty in higher education:

In 1879 and 1939, women held 40 percent and 30
percent of faculty jobs respectively; in 1974 women
represented only 18-20 percent. . Even these
statistics do not reflect the instability of many
female appointments that are part-time, temporary,
or non-tenure tract. Two-thirds of male faculty
are tenured, whereas only one-third of female fac-
ulty have acquired that status or security. . .
(Clark 1977, p. 107)

In 1974, only 12 percent of all female faculty in American univer-

sities were full professors. The greatest percentage of women were

ranked as assistant professors (35%). Almost 68 percent held the rank

of assistant professor, instructor, or lecturer (Clark 1977). Progress

for women in higher education has occurred at a less than desirable


Employment of women in higher education has grown
slowly over the 1970's, as college enrollments be-
gan to level off, but women's progress up the aca-
demic ladder still lags far behind that of men.
For example, among academically employed Ph.D.'s
between 1970 and 1974, 4.4% of the men, but only
2% of the women had reached the rank of professor.
Among men, 29.5% are associate professors, but less
than 18% of the women have reached this rank. At
the bottom of the academic ladder, only 10.8% of
the men who earned their Ph.D. in those five years

are instructors or lecturers, but 18.2% of the women
still hold this non-tenure rank. ("Progress In Pro-
fessional Labor Force Is Mixed Bag," 1978/79, pp.

Attitudes Affecting Waomen in Academia

Professional Women

Academic women also experience a form of discrimination in the

social network of the higher education institution. Women are often

excluded from informal informational networks, such as luncheons, after

hours socials, cnomittees, and research projects (Clark 1977). Exclu-

sion from such networks is difficult to measure, however the literature,

though lacking empirical evidence of this form of sexism, states its

existence (Simon, Clark, and Galway 1967).

In a 1977 conference on Women in Scientific Research, women met to

discuss barriers and obstacles to obtaining their degrees and beginning

their professional careers. These women testified that in order to

attain the respect and recognition for their achievements they must "do

better" than their male colleagues because they "are not taken seriously."

In addition, they stated that affirmative action programs have not

eliminated the barriers of discriminatory college admissions and re-

cruitment policies in hiring. A sample of 60 males was matched to the

60 females at the conference for educational background and experience.

These 120 people completed questionnaires concerning their observations

of the treatment of wamen in higher education. The observations included

distinct differences in the way women were treated in regard to the

"mentor" system, role models, and the general feeling of inequality with

their male colleagues (Science News 1977). The professional women in

this study also cited these specific barriers to equality:

. difficulties in gaining tenure because of the
"men's club" ambience in science departments, which
works to exclude women on the basis that they are
less-qualified newcomers to the research community.
This attitude also seems to carry over to the "same
old boys" who referee journal articles (read them
to see if their research content warrants publica-
tion) and who referee grant proposals to funding
institutions. . (Science News 1977, p. 279)

A recent study by Theodore (1979) investigated the lack of prog-

ress in overcoming sex discrimination in the last decade. She based

her conclusions on 65 case studies and over 500 responses to a ques-

tionnaire concerning discrimination in higher education. Theodore

found that wide differences exist in salaries of male and female faculty

members and that women remain clustered in the bottom ranks in non-

track tenured positions. She concluded that 1979 is no different than

1970 with respect to fighting sex discrimination (Ccamrent 1979).

Theodore's investigation into the lack of success of women's protests

and challenges of their institutions on the grounds of sex discrimin-

ation paints a sordid picture:

. the women are treated as criminals, and they
take incredible risks with their careers. Even
after their cases are resolved, whether favorably
or unfavorably, they may find themselves black-
listed. . Regardless of whether or not the
women tried to work within the system, enlisted
the help of state and federal compliance agencies,
or sought redress through the courts, they found
strong resistance by administrators who lied, de-
ceived, stalled, concealed evidence, and distorted
facts; who manipulated and divided people; who
changed the rules without accountability to appro-
priate faculty bodies; who punished, harassed, and

otherwise tried to get rid of protesting women
through such measures as tampering with files,
writing negative recommendations, demeaning and de-
moting women, and even punishing their husbands.
(Comment 1979, p. 7)

In response to the issues expressed in Theodore's presentation, a

representative of the American Council on Education noted that equality

for women is frustrated by the structure of the higher education commu-

nity. "So much of academic life is based on tradition, which, in most

cases, is male-oriented and male-dominated" (Cocnent 1979, p. 7).

Professional Women's Aspirations

In a Carnegie Coanission study, the data revealed that females

who aspire to university careers, as opposed to junior college teaching,

are more qualified than their male counterparts. Those women who are

not more qualified than males, aspire to junior college teaching. Men

aspire to university careers regardless of their qualifications

(Feldman 1974). The same study indicated that:

Women who teach within higher education are less
likely to aspire toward (and end up in) the more
prestigious academic positions, although these
lower aspirations do not appear to be based on
inability or the lack of prerequisites. (Feldman
1974, p. 157)

Women in Administration

Women are noticeably missing from the administrative positions in

higher education:

. academic women constitute a different popu-
lation, statistically speaking, from academic men.
In the work of academic women, career patterns de-
velop along different lines. Women tend to serve
in institutions which emphasize different functions,

and they themselves are attracted to different
kinds of functions. Further, they tend to be
in areas which are not in strategic positions
in the academic market place and which are not
as productive as the areas that attract men.
(J. Bernard in Barnett and Baruch 1978, p. 15)

The Florida Education Directory for 1978-79 demonstrates the

under-representation of women in administrative positions in higher

education. In the public community colleges in the State of Florida,

14 percent of the administrators are female; in the state university

system, 14 percent of the administrators are women; in the private

accredited colleges, 13 percent of the administrators are women. In

the entire system of postsecondary education, private and public,

there is one female president, three vice presidents, and 20 deans

(Soldwedel 1980).

Attitudes Toward Female Graduate Students

Feldman's findings in reference to female graduate students demon-

strates that professors in male-dominated fields are viewed as taking

women less seriously. Women were more sensitive to a professor's

attitudes towards them and could be expected to report that professors

"don't take female students seriously." This assumption was borne out

by the finding that 50 percent of the females in political science and

sociology agreed with this item and only 20 percent of the male stu-

dents agreed (Feldman 1974, p. 69).

In response to an item concerned with the beliefs of the dedication

of female graduate students, approximately 25 percent of the faculty and

graduate students agreed that female graduate students were less dedi-

cated than males. Females were less likely to agree with this item;

however, male faculty and graduate students tended to agree. This

finding demonstrates that this attitude is cmcanon regardless of gener-

ational differences (Feldman 1974). Women students in male-dominated

fields are perceived as less dedicated than male students:

The overall percentage of those who agree that
females are not as dedicated is a good predictor
of the feminine enrollment in a field. In general,
fields in which all incumbents view females as not
as dedicated are male-dominated or have a mascu-
line imagery. Where women are a minority, there
is usually more prejudice against them. (Feldman
1974, p. 71)

Faculty may tend to establish apprentice-like relationships with

fewer female students if they perceive these students as less dedi-

cated than their male peers. Relationships with professors in some

fields of study are an important factor in a graduate student's aca-

demic career:

From the standpoint of professional socialization,
it is advantageous for graduate students to have
a collegial or an apprenticeship relationship with
their major professors. A close working relation-
ship with a professor should facilitate research
and aid the building of a professional self-image . .
But women are much less likely to have the benefits
of a close working relationship. (Feldman 1974,
pp. 119-120)

The Carnegie Cannommission study explores the positive academic ef-

fects that a close relationship with a professor provides for students.

Of those students in a close apprentice-like collegial relationship

with a professor, approximately 44 percent of the male and 42 percent

of the female students had published an article. This is in contrast

to students who had an employer-employee or no-contact relationship

with a professor. Only 24 percent of the female students in this type

of relationship had published (Feldman 1974).

Close relationships with professors appeared to lessen female

students' insecurity. Approximately 20 percent of the females with a

close relationship to a professor felt that inability may cause them

to drop out of graduate school. However, 35 percent of the females

with an employee, student, or no-contact relationship felt that their

inability may cause them to drop out of graduate school. Although

female students generally had higher GPA's in undergraduate and grad-

uate school, fewer women than men were inclined to rate themselves as

the best students in their department. Females also tended to view

themselves as students rather than scholars or scientists. Males were

inclined to view themselves as scholars or scientists (Feldman 1974).

Women students attitudes towards themselves may have had an effect on

how they were perceived by others:

Even if they are equal in ability, women may fail
to obtain the rewards that men obtain simply because
they lack the same dedication. If women are for
some reason perceived as less dedicated, however,
and therefore are treated as such, they may well
lower their academic commitment. Assuming a lower
level of commitment, faculty members may pay less
attention to their female students, who then be-
come less successful. The prophecy becomes self-
fulfilling. (Feldman 1974, p. 12)

Attitudes Toward Women Pursuing Non-Traditional Fields of Study

Observations of the Carnegie Conmnission study included the


We have previously demonstrated that male-dominated
fields are the most likely to appear antifemale.
Logic might dictate that women would be best off in
fields that they numerically dominate. This proves
not to be the case. In female-majority fields, men
have higher aspirations than women and are less
affected by career choice factors. In female-dom-
inated fields, the men, not the wcmen, are the most
visible. And since tradition accords the better
jobs to men, they can aspire toward and end up in
the better positions. (Feldman 1974, pp. 79-80)

A Stanford University study focused on the problems facing women

students in the schools of law, medicine, and business. Women who

used the counseling services expressed concerns that they felt emanated

from a male-dominated, unsupportive, academic environment. These con-

cerns prompted further study. A questionnaire was sent to women in the

professional schools of law, medicine, and business. The focus of the

study was to identify problems facing women in these fields. Female

students felt concern over the lack of support by faculty, lack of role

models, exclusion from the "old boy network," and experiences of iso-

lation from their male-dominated peer group (Kaplan and Pao 1977).

A study of Cornell University engineering students demonstrated

that 2/3 of the female students who transferred out of the department

did so because they felt "restricted by the curriculum and atmosphere

of the school." This study also suggested that there was no significant

difference in academic achievement or in the total attrition rate of

male and female students (Gardner 1976, p. 237). In contrast, a study

of female engineering students at Minnesota's Institute of Technology

(IT), showed different attrition rates. In this study, the academic

achievement level of female engineering students accounted for about

40 percent of the attrition rate. The attrition rate for females at

IT was 66 percent compared to 27 percent at Cornell (Davis 1975 in

Gardner 1976). Gardner (1976) stated that the differences in attri-

tion rates between the two schools appears to have been a function of

support. Davis (1975) also implied that support from a significant

source was an important factor effecting the success of female stu-

dents. Support at Cornell was in the form of discussion groups,

special laboratory courses, and pairing of wanen in the dormitories

(Gardner 1976).

In Cartwright's (1972) study of female medical students, she found

that "encouragement from others" was the most frequently mentioned mo-

tive for attending medical school. Women in medicine did not appear

to receive encouragement once they were in medical school. A recent

report by Bourne (1978) suggested that women students appeared to be

classified into two groups by the males in their environment. Either

they were defined as "sexual" or "asexual/professional." Bourne pro-

vided the following examples of behaviors exhibited by males towards

their female peers:

1. He expresses disbelief that such an attractive
woman could be doing this kind of work. Trans-
lation: she is getting high marks on looks at
the outset and thus has a lot to lose if she
doesn't play the game.
2. He shows dismay that she will not be able to do
the work. Translation: he will think her tough
and unfeminine if she proves to be able to do the work.

3. He tells her and others, when she can overhear,
that she is only doing well because men are doing
special favors for her because of her looks.
This makes her think maybe she wouldn't be doing
as well if men stopped defining her as sexy. It
also makes her feel that maybe there is not much
point in becoming a star doctor because nobody
would believe her anyway.
4. He calls attention to her sex and the sexual
aspect of the relationship frequently, often in
a teasing way. Translation: remember why I am
paying attention to you.
5. He tries to make it with her. This settles the
ambiguity once and for all. Consent puts her
clearly in the female/sexy category. Refusal
proves she is cold and unyielding and, thus,
asexual. (Comment 1978, p. 1)

Shapiro (1978) of the Harvard Medical School published "A Survival

Guide" for victims of "nonactionable sex discrimination." The one-page

chart addresses various categories of discrimination which are compo-

nents of what is now defined as sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment of Female Students

Sexual harassment of students by instructors includes various be-

haviors that can be best described on a continuum. On one end of the

continuum there exist subtleties. These are seemingly the least harmful

both psychologically and physically, yet possibly the most pervasive.

Sexist jokes and/or derogatory remarks about women as a group are

hurtful and place limitations on women as would any stereotype (Benson

and Thomson 1979).

To date, the only study conducted concerning sexual harassment of

students on campus was directed by Benson in 1977 at the University of

California, Berkeley (Benson and Thomson 1979). The purpose of the

study was to obtain information regarding students' perceptions of the

seriousness of the problem of sexual harassment. In addition, the

study was conducted to gain insight into the general extent of the

problem on the Berkeley campus. Approximately 1/3 of the 269 respon-

dents reported knowing someone who was sexually harassed. About 20

percent of the respondents indicated that they themselves had been

sexually harassed by at least one professor. Seventy-three percent of

the respondents reported that they considered sexual harassment either

a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. Those students with

personal experience or awareness of an incident of harassment tended

to perceive that it occurred frequently.

Benson conducted interviews with 50 of the women who reported

sexual harassment. The most frequently occurring abuses reported were

sexual overtures, comments concerning physical appearance, inappropriate

physical contact, and general expressions of sexual interest toward the

student. Explicit propositions offering academic reward in return for

sexual "favors" were indicated by sane of the women interviewed. It

was also indicated that punishment was a possible consequence of non-

compliance. In still fewer cases, there were instances of overt physi-

cal violation:

I needed help with an assignment so I went to
the professor's office hours. He was staring
at my breasts. . It made me uncomfortable
and confused. . He reached over, unbuttoned
my blouse and started fondling my breasts. . .
(Benson and Thomson 1979, p. 11)

However, this type of abuse was atypical, in that most professors

approached the students in a more gradual way with less of a demand for

immediate sexual obligation. In fact, one faculty member responding to

the original survey reported that sane of his colleagues use false

praises of women students' work to render them vulnerable to sexual

advances in the future (Benson and Thomson 1979).

Pope, Levenson, and Schover (1979) conducted a study regarding

sexual activity and graduate education in psychology. The researchers

mailed 1,000 questionnaires to the American Psychological Association,

Division 29 (psychotherapy) members. Respondents were asked whether

they had experienced sexual contact with psychology department teachers,

clinical supervisors, and/or administrators. In addition, they were

asked whether, as teachers, clinical supervisors, and/or administrators,

they had sexual contact with their students. Sexual contact was defined

as intercourse or genital stimulation. The respondents were asked if

they believed such sexual contact was beneficial to the parties involved.

The results of this study indicated that there was a greater likelihood

of experiencing sexual contact with an educator while earning a degree,

if the degree was earned within the last six years. Approximately 25

percent of the female respondents who earned their degrees in the last

six years experienced sex with their educators. Seventy-five percent

of those females who had sex as a student did so with a teacher and 47

percent had done so with clinical supervisors. Females reported sig-

nificantly more sexual contact as students while males reported greater

incidence of sexual contact as psychologists with their students and

clients. 'Twelve percent of the psychology teachers, four percent of the

supervisors, and three percent of the administrators reported sexual con-

tact with their students" (Pope et al. 1979, p. 687). Only two percent

of the respondents believed that such contact was beneficial to either

or both parties (Pope et al. 1979).

In summary, the research suggested that sexual contact occurred

between a substantial number of male educators and female students.

Respondents did not feel that the experience was beneficial for either

party; yet the study did suggest that this behavior was rapidly in-

creasing. The authors called for research into "the incidence of

student-teacher sexual contact in undergraduate education or the grad-

uate programs of other academic disciplines" (Pope et al. 1979, p. 687).

They expressed the belief that the tendency for sexual activity to

occur between male educators and female students may be a result of dis-

crimination. The ratio of male to female faculty in a typical pro-

fessional program was nine to one, and therefore, female students would

be in a higher risk situation than their male counterparts. Finally,

the authors concluded:

Psychologists can scarcely afford continuing their
selective inattention to these issues. The subject
of sexual contact between educators and students
should be brought out of the closet and aired in
free, open-minded, and serious discussion. Because
the profession, though tending to hold an idealized
view of itself, is forced to recruit its members
from the human race, these discussions will likely
be characterized not only by informed wisdom and
altruism, but also by anxiety, conflicts, and
occasional low self-disclosure. . Given the
profession's public silence toward the issues thus
far, it may be reasonable to assume that many psy-
chologists find it difficult to acknowledge their
attraction to or eagerness of sexual relations with
their students, let alone that they have considered
acting or have already acted on this attraction or
eagerness. (Pope et al. 1979, p. 688)

It should be noted that the above-mentioned study does not address

the issue of sexual harassment per se, it does however, imply that

student-teacher sexual contact is somewhat analagous to doctor-patient

sex, and that is unethical. Dr. Pope, senior author of the study of

psychology students and educators, comments on the findings of his


For a professor to have an affair with a student
is unethical because the teacher's job is to eval-
uate the student's academic performance. It would
make no difference who initiates the relationship.
("Survey Lends Sex, Psych Profs," 1979)

Provost Miller of Stanford University states:

Individuals who might otherwise be regarded as free
to consent may feel psychologically coerced. Just
because individuals can say "yes" or "no" doesn't
mean that they do not feel pressure. (Stanford Uni-
versity News Service 1978, p. 1)

Prevalence of Sexual Harassment of Women Students

The University of Miami indicates that 40 percent of its women

students have encountered some form of sexual harassment on campus (Miami

Herald 1978). This issue provoked the following statement of adminis-

trative policy by President Henry King Stanford:

There is evidence that UM women encounter-some-
times in classrooms and sometimes in offices--
derogatory and dehumanizing remarks about women.
Whether or not such remarks are thoughtless or
deliberate, women have, nevertheless, found them
degrading. Therefore, your thoughtful attention
to this matter is requested.
Some of the remarks UM women complain about are
directed at individual women, who are singled out
because of their age, sex, physical attributes,
or interest in women's rights issues. Other re-
marks are directed at women in general and express
contempt for women and stereotyped assumptions
about women's abilities and ambitions.
Such remarks will not be condoned by the adminis-
tration. I am asking women students to bring com-
plaints of remarks which they find offensive to the
attention of appropriate deans. Women employees
are asked to bring such complaints to the attention
of the appropriate administrative head of the area
in which they work. (Veritas 1978, p. 1)

There is a dearth of information in the literature that demon-

strates the frequency of occurrence of incidents of sexual harassment.

Most of the information concerning sexual harassment of female stu-

dents can be found in campus newspapers:

I'll bet there's at least one professor playing
around in each department, said a nine year mem-
ber of the University of Florida faculty. Most
of them don't try to hide it. For some, it's a
kind of competition, like mounted heads. (Julin
1979, p. 10)

A sociology professor at Yale agrees:

I don't know of a single department where at least
one faculty member hasn't occasionally slept with a
student, but the same problem exists at every
university I know of. ("Bod And Man At Yale," 1977,
p. 52)

Anne Simon, a Yale Law School alumna, is the attorney for the first

lawsuit involving sexual harassment of students at Yale. She estimates

that about 75 incidents of sexual harassment occur at Yale each semester

("Bod And Man At Yale," 1977).

The limited literature available demonstrates a contradiction of

opinion. Top level administrators appear to diminish the frequency of

sexual harassment incidents. Counselors, psychologists, and women's

studies departments state that the problem is extensive:

Women's Studies director at Florida State Univer-
sity says sexual harassment is pervasive. Sexual
complaints have been lodged with the Office of
Women's Studies regarding the behavior of male
faculty and graduate assistants who use their
position for sexual harassment.
The degree of harassment varies. It can be very
subtle, like a professor asking a student out re-
peatedly or a graduate assistant being negative
about whether or not a woman should be studying
in a particular discipline. (Raulerson 1979, p.1)

At the same University, the Vice President for Academic Affairs

stated that, "sexual advances to students by teachers are 'very rare'"

(Raulerson 1979, p. 1). Perhaps the reason for these contradictions

is based on inadequate reporting procedures and the overwhelming pos-

sible consequences for the victims. In addition, the lack of publicity

and research hinder understanding the extent and resolution of the

problem (Stanford University News Service 1978).

In 1973, a senior at a California state university testified be-

fore the legislature that she knew of "at least 15 professors who of-

fered students A's for sex" (Project on the Status and Education of

Women 1978, p. 3). At a recent conference of the Association for Women

in Science, a substantial number of women (all recent Ph.D. recipients)

reported that they had been sexually harassed by men in a position to

affect their academic and professional careers. None of these women

had discussed this issue publicly before ("Still Many Barriers To

Women In Science," 1977). The Benson and Thomson (1979) study demnn-

strated that although 20 percent of their sample experienced some form

of sexual harassment, they were confused about how to deal with the


Consequences of Sexual Harasanent

Sexual harassment is an issue of power. The power inherent in the

student-teacher relationship is obvious:

A college professor wields considerable influence
over a student's academic success and future career.
A teacher's assessment of a student may in a very
real sense affect her "life's chances." Students
depend upon their professors for grades, recoamen-
dations, job referrals, and research-related oppor-
tunities. Graduate students, in addition, rely on

their professors for opportunities to attend
special seminars and conferences and to co-author
research papers, for introductions to colleagues
in the field, for sponsorship in informal and
formal academic societies and professional associ-
ations, and for recommendations for grants,
fellowships, and faculty appointments. (Project
on the Status and Education of Women 1978, p. 3)

Oftentimes the consequences of sexual harassment by instructors

becomes so severe that students choose to change their course of study,

withdraw from school completely, or remain in school under immense emo-

tional and psychological pressure (Project on the Status and Education

of Women 1978, p. 3). Among several reasons that Juanita Kreps cited

for high attrition rates of female graduate students were lack of dedi-

cation and lack of interest (Kreps 1971, p. 51). In contrast, Lin

Farley stated:

It is time we recognize that what has been judged
female disinterest or lack of dedication is often
the effect of sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is,
in fact, so widespread in higher education that
school administrators should have made this con-
nection some time ago. (1978, p. 70)

Many women feel that the only way to "save both autonomy and career,"

is to leave school. Oftentimes this decision is impulsive and made with-

out adequate preparation. The pressure of explicit sexual demands and

"accumulated sexually harassing experiences," may cause a woman to make

"life-changing decisions" (Farley 1978, p. 74) For example:

A female cadet at West Point resigned from the mili-
tary academy in 1977 after charging her male squad
leader with improper sexual advances. The Academy
dismissed her charges when the squad leader denied
any wrongdoing. (Project on the Status and Education
of Women 1978, p. 2)

Psychologists agree the educational experience may become anxiety-

producing and uncomfortable in a normal classroom. The students'

learning ability may be impaired. Those who complain risk "grief, in-

timidation, and threats." Sexual harassment takes an anotional toll.

"The overwhelming feeling is that of helplessness" (Julin 1979, p. 10).

Other reported symptoms of women who were sexually harassed range from

insomnia and headaches to diminished ambition and depression (Project

on the Status and Education of Wonen 1978). One university psychologist


. the helplessness a victim of sexual harassment
may feel can cause a great psychological damage.
The helpless feeling is most detrimental. (Julin
1979, p. 10)

The severity of the possible consequences that face a student who

reports sexual harassment are overwhelming. One University of Florida

graduate female flatly rejected the propositions of a department head.

She felt reporting the situation would be futile. "There's nobody

higher than him unless you get into the top brass; I don't know what it

would accomplish. He's too secure in his position." Months later, the

graduate student was still fearful that this department head would have

a negative affect on her career. After she interviewed for a job, he

(the department head) had lunch with her potential employer (Julin 1979,

p. 10).

In addition to the physical and emotional consequences of rejecting

or reporting sexual harassment is the very real consequence that affects

academic advancement. Embarrassing and denigrating remarks aimed at

certain women students from rejected professors, lowered grades, se-

vere criticism of coursework, and hard to find letters of recomnenda-

tion, are sane of the consequences of not cooperating with an instruc-

tor's whims (Project on the Status and Education of Womanen 1978, p. 3).

A University of Florida counseling psychologist explained:

The complaints have been going on for many,
many years. I have heard women say they were
graded down a full grade for rejecting a pro-
fessor (Julin 1979, p. 10)

Various forms of behavior exist within the parameters of the sexual

harassment continuum. The effects of the subtle and blatant forms of

harassment have not been measured. These effects are likely to be de-

pendent upon the individual, and her perception of the severity of the

situation. One professor, who was accused of sexual harassment of sev-

eral female students stated: ". .you can take my word for it, it was

not a situation where anybody was in any danger or fear" (Florida State

University Flambeau 1979, p. 1). After several complaints about this

professor, the head of the Florida State University graduate program in

theater directing, he resigned. It should be noted that when a com-

plaint was lodged two years previously against this same professor, the

student was assured that the professor would not be allowed to return to

Florida State University. He did return and he assumed the position

that he left. He also continued to victimize his female students:

When he was alone with the women, usually in his
office, he would back them into a corner or against
the wall, and put his hand in their mouth to keep
them quiet. Then he would rub his body against
them. (Florida State University Flambeau 1979,
p. 1)

This example certainly is not rape, nor it is subtle sexual harass-

ment. The situation falls somewhere within the parameters of the sexual

harassment continuum. Although the professor maintained that these

w men had nothing to fear and were not in any danger, it appears that he

certainly violated their personal space. It also appears that this type

of behavior would be against the law. Obviously, university officials

did not find this a serious offense because the department head was re-

instated after the first complaint was filed, two years previously.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs felt that the situation was

"taken very seriously;" he said, ". . he knew of three women who re-

ported unwanted advances by this same professor!" (Florida State Uni-

versity Flambeau 1979, p. 1)

Cases similar to those previously mentioned appear to be numerous.

University of Florida professors and students can and do describe inci-

dent after incident of faculty members pressuring students for sexual

favors (Julin 1979). The consequences are as numerous as the incidents:

Because the male is in a position of authority,
as professor, mentor, or supervisor, a woman,
therefore, may be at great risk if she objects
to the behavior or resists the overtures. It is
this context which underlies the gravity of the
problem of sexual harassment. (Project on the
Status and Education of Women 1978, p. 2)

Anne Truax, Director of the Minnesota Women's Center said she is

aware of women students who have all of their Ph.D. coursework com-

pleted but leave the university because they cannot tolerate the sexual

harassment frcm their advisor or professor (Scanlon 1979). Truax also

reported hearing about a faculty member who is said to have raped several

women students. The students would not file complaints (Scanlon 1979).

Rape is beyond the scope of this study. However, attitudes such as the

one expressed by the Director of the University of Miami police force

are typical. ". . the cause of many rapes on campus is the promiscuity

of the female students." This type of attitude placed the female

"victim" in the position of "criminal." The violator of her being be-

comes the victim who just couldn't help himself (Winerip 1978).

Unfortunately, women adopt this attitude and begin to assume the guild

for such acts. "What did I do to cause him to do this to me?" This

is the first multitudes of questions that haunt a woman who has been

raped and harassed. A graduate student staff member working at the

Minnesota Women's Center states:

Many women have been socialized to be afraid to
talk about sex harassment. . The women feel
guilty and that they, not their harassers, are
to blame for the incident. (Scanlon 1979, p. 1)

Most of the interviews cited throughout the literature reported

that the fear of negative consequences involving their academic and pro-

fessional career is the major deterrent to women considering reporting

incidents of harassment (Project on the Status and Education of Wamen

1978). A representative of the University of Toronto Graduate Student

Union reinforced this belief. She noted that a professor was sexually

involved with seven graduate women students whose studies he super-

vised. He informed them "unofficially" that they would do well in his

courses. These women reported that they were afraid to report the

incidents because they were afraid of the academic and professional

consequences ("Canadian Graduate Students Warned," 1979).

The fears related to the consequences of sexual harassment have

kept the problem concealed. The establishment of reporting procedures

for incidents of sexual harassment would aid in determining the extent

of sexual harassment on the campus as well as publicly acknowledging

the existence of sexual harassment as a problem. A procedure that would

lessen the consequences for the victim might encourage others to trust

the university administration in the handling of such affairs.

Reporting Incidents of Sexual Harassment

Incidents of sexual harassment remain unreported for many reasons.

Too often, the consequences for reporting or rejecting sexual overtones

by a professor appear to be greater than those of submitting to the

harassment. The procedure involved in reporting an incident that is so

sensitive in nature, is often a deterrent in itself:

The administration feels that incidents of sexual
harassment of students by professors are not common.
However, there are many cases that are not reported.
In order to report an incident, the student would
have to come to an open hearing on accusations of
misconduct. The administrator comnnented 'few stu-
dents are willing to do that.' (Florida State
University Flambeau 1979, p. 19)

From this statement, it would be easy to assure that the adminis-

tration's conclusions about the frequency of incidents of sexual har-

assment at Florida State University is inaccurate. The validity lies

in the awareness that few students vwuld be willing to subject themselves

to such a hearing. A psychologist at the Florida State University Men-

tal Health Center states that:

. if a student lodges a complaint with the
University concerning a relationship with a
professor, the University generally works to
protect the faculty member against the student.
(Raulerson 1979, p. 19)

The department head of the Women's Studies department hears many

complaints of sexual harassment because "most students don't report in-

cidents of sexual harassment to anyone in a position of authority at

FSU" (Raulerson 1979, p. 19). Officials at the University of Florida

say that the ". . problem of proof coupled with the indifferent atti-

tude of UF administrators results in many complaints being handled in

a less than thorough manner" (Julin 1979, p. 11). Although the Office

of Student Services handled only four incidents of sexual harassment

during Fall and Winter quarters (1978-79), more complaints have been

made to the Counseling Center. The Vice President for Academic Affairs

at the University of Florida explained that ". . most complaints of

this type are handled by the department chairman" (University of Florida

Alligator 1979, p. 10). It appears that the University of Florida con-

siders sexual harassment a problem of middle management. Unfortunately,

there are only 12 percent female faculty, and ever fewer female adminis-

trators on any management level at the University of Florida (Klein

1979). Throughout the literature, reporting of incidents of sexual

harassment of females happens more often through female staff members

(Stanford University News Service 1978; Florida State University Flambeau

1979; University of Florida Alligator 1979; Project on the Status and

Education of Women 1978).

Several women students and one male professor initiated a lawsuit

against Yale University in 1977. The lawsuit claimed that Yale was

negligent for failing to provide a grievance procedure for victims of

sexual harassTent. Since victims are usually females, failing to have

such a procedure constitutes sexual discrimination. The case argued

that this is a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of

1972 (Nelson 1978). The courts found that one of the female plaintiffs

had justifiable cause to sue. In this case, Alexander v. Yale University,

Alexander maintained that she received a "C" grade in a course for re-

fusing a professor's proposition for sexual activity. She maintained

that the professor offered her an "A" grade in return for sexual favors,

and when she rejected his advances, he gave her the lower grade.

Alexander complained verbally and in writing to the university adminis-

tration. The university dismissed her allegations without further in-

vestigation into the matter (Nelson 1978; Miles 1979). The case did

establish that sexual harassment constitutes sexual discrimination which

is in violation of Title LX:

. it is perfectly reasonable to maintain that
academic advancement conditioned upon submission
to sexual demands constitutes sex discrimination
in education, just as questions of job retention
or promotion tied to sexual demands from super-
visors have become increasingly recognized as
potential violation of Title VII's ban against
sex discrimination in employment. (In Miles
1979, p. 14)

As mentioned earlier, part of the lawsuit against Yale University

focuses on their lack of a reporting procedure for incidents of sexual

harassment (Project on the Status and Education of Wcmen 1978). In

light of this, Dean Kaplan of Stanford University has spearheaded pro-

cedures for the creation of such a system at Stanford:

Nonrmally, students with a grievance are encouraged
to talk about it directly with the faculty member
concerned, then with the department head, and the
appropriate dean. This can be exceptionally
difficult if the professor is in a position to
wield academic power for personal favors.
Appealing to other professors isn't easy, either.
Most are reluctant to delve into the private lives
of their colleagues; those lacking tenure can find
themselves professionally threatened if they try
to do so. Those aggrieved almost universally are
women; the higher an appeal is taken, the more
likely it will become a matter between men.
If students perceive, rightly or wrongly, that
harassment simply is not dealt with as an issue
by the faculty, litigation of the Yale variety
may ultimately result. (Campus Report 1978, p. 2)

Brown, Rutgers, the University of Minnesota, and the University

of Florida have all set up informal procedures for reporting complaints

of sexual harassment. The administrative offices of Brown, Rutgers,

and the University of Florida have issued policy statements regarding

the prohibition and condemnation of such behaviors (Brown 1979; Rutgers

1979; Scanlon 1979; Julin 1979).

At the University of California at Berkeley, 29 women students

have filed a complaint with the Department of Health, Education and

Welfare on the basis of the University's neglect in establishing griev-

ance procedures (Benson and Thomson 1979). The increased reporting of

incidents in the last year has given impetus to organizing campus

groups concerned with the problem of harassment. One organization,

Women Organized Against Sexual Harassment (WOASH) at the University of

California at Berkeley, is devising a grievance procedure for incidents

of sexual harassment (Project on the Status and Education of Women 1980).

WOASH has picketed the University administration building in protest of

an alleged "cover-up" of charges of sexual harassment leveled against

a male professor (Benson and Thomson 1979). The Women's Center at the

University of Minnesota collects data on the extent of sexual harass-

ment at the university. The Center also counsels victims of harassment

and aids in filing of complaints (Scanlon 1979).

Recent Developments

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that a professor was

dismissed from San Jose State University in California for incidents

of sexual harassment. He was ". . dismissed after five women stu-

dents accused him of fondling, embracing, and making sexual proposi-

tions to them" (1080, p. 2). A second professor at Berkeley has been

suspended without pay for one quarter after harassment charges were

filed (Chronicle of Higher Education 1980).

The Federal Government is presently addressing the issue of sex-

ual harassment on the campus. The National Advisory Council of Women's

Educational Programs is a presidentially appointed body established by

Congress. The Council's responsibility is to advise and report on sex

equity in education. This Council has publicly requested information

frcn victims about their experiences of harassment. Depending upon

the scope of the problem, the Council may hold hearings on sexual

harassment. If the project's investigation finds that federal action

on the problem is necessary, they will make such a recommendation to

Congress ("Sexual Harassment Reviewed By Council," 1979).

Sexual harassment exists on the campuses of our colleges and uni-

versities. It is a threat to the academic and economic future of stu-

dents. Students cannot freely choose to accept or reject sexual ad-

vances. To report or reject incidents of sexual harassment may jeop-

ardize grades, careers, and futures. The problem and the extent of

the problem need publicity and research. Educational equity and Title

IX require that this problem no longer be hidden. "The problem of

sexual harassment will not go away, nor are there easy answers" (Project

on the Status and Education of Women 1978, p. 5).


The review of related literature demonstrates the relationship of

sex-role stereotyping to occupational and institutional sexism. The

roles of women in our society characterize women as submissive, incom-

petent, and subordinate to men. These roles are perpetuated by the

sex-stereotypic attitudes of men and women. Sexual harassment is a

component of occupational segregation and vertical stratification. It

exists in a symbiotic relationship with the outgrowths of occupational

stereotyping. As occupational stereotyping exists, it is paralleled

by stereotyping in academia. As the world of work is dominated by

males, so is the world of higher education. As specific occupations

are sex-typed, so are the academic and professional fields that are

pursued by students.

Sexual harassment of female students exists as it exists in the

world of work. The extent of this phenomenon in academia has not been

surveyed as it has in the working world. Few universities have taken

the initiative to address the problem.

The United States Government has recognized the extent of the

problem of sexual harassment of women. Congressional investigations

into harassment of wcmen in federal and state agencies, as well as the

Armed Forces are currently underway. The Federal Government is also

in the process of investigating sexual harassment on campus. The

courts have determined that sexual harassment is sex discrimination

and a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In

addition, sexual harassment has been found to contribute to sexual

discrimination in education under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amend-

ments. The extent of the problem of sexual harassment on the campus

has not been researched. The Federal Government, recent research, and

the Project on the Status and Education of Wcmen of the American Associa-

tion of Colleges all express a need for such information.


The review of literature, in Chapter Two, demonstrates the gen-

eral extent of the problem of sexual harassment of women in the world

of work. In addition, it depicts the void of information concerning

the extent of the problem of sexual harassment of female students in

postsecondary education. The purpose of this study was to contribute

to the elimination of this void by providing information concerning

the extent of sexual harassment of women students on the campus.

Too, the study examined female students' attitudes and beliefs con-

cerning the occurrence of the sexual harassment phenomenon.

Description of Sample and Selection

The target population of this study was undergraduate and grad-

uate professional female students in selected state universities of

Florida. As indicated on Table 1, the three largest universities in

the State of Florida were surveyed. These schools were selected not

solely due to their size, but because they were the only schools in

the state university system that offered professional programs in

the selected professions. For the purpose of this study, profes-

sional programs were defined as advanced training programs that lead

to a degree in dentistry, education, engineering, law, medicine, or

veterinary medicine.

The total population of female students in the state university

system of Florida's programs leading to degrees in dentistry, law,


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medicine, and veterinary medicine were surveyed. A total of 695

women in these non-traditional professional major areas of study,

were surveyed. All women students in the undergraduate engineering

programs at the University of Florida and the University of South

Florida were surveyed. A total of 524 surveys were mailed to these

engineering students. A systematic sample of female undergraduate

and graduate students majoring in education at Florida State Univer-

sity, the University of Florida, and the University of South Florida,

were selected and surveyed. A total of 1,200 questionnaires were mail-

ed to women students in graduate and undergraduate education programs

(Table 1).

The rationale for sampling in the above manner was to approximate

equal sample sizes for each of the independent variables: under-

graduate (1,124), graduate (1,291), traditional professional (1,200),

and non-traditional professional (1,215). The minimum acceptable re-

turns from the sample of the total group and each individual group was

set at 25 percent (Table 1). This required a minimum of 603 surveys

to be returned from the total group. However, the desirable return

was set at 40 percent of the sample (966).


A "contact" person was designated at each university. The con-

tact person's function was to facilitate the distribution of the ques-

tionnaire by aiding in the accumulation of enrollment lists (Appendix A).


Personal contact was made with the contact person by telephone. Rep-

resentatives of the University of Florida Student Government Associa-

tion, the Society of Women in Engineering, and the women's law organ-

izations at their respective schools were contacted by telephone. The

members of these organizations functioned by supplying the researcher

with any necessary information and by aiding in informing fellow stu-

dents of the survey.

The following procedure was utilized in accumulating the data:

Phase I A sample of 600 undergraduate and 600 graduate female

students majoring in education was systematically selected from the en-

rollment lists frcm Florida State University, the University of Florida,

and the University of South Florida. A random number between one and

six was selected from a box. Every fourth, fifth, or sixth name was

selected from the list beginning with the name that matched the number

drawn from the box. The spread between each name selected was deter-

mined by dividing the desired two hundred subjects into the total number

of students on the list.

Phase II A cover letter and stamped return envelope accompanied

each questionnaire. Subjects were requested to return the questionnaire

within three weeks of the mailing date. (See Appendix B for sample

cover letter and questionnaire.) The return envelope was coded and

matched to a code number on one of the enrollment lists. This was done

to reduce the number of postcards to be sent as a follow-up to non-


Phase III -- A total of 2,415 questionnaires were mailed to a

sample of female students at the three universities. (See Table 1.)

The initial mailing began during the fourth week of the Spring quarter

1980. Due to the delay in acquiring enrollment lists from the Uni-

versity of South Florida, 731 questionnaires were not mailed until the

last week of the quarter.

Phase IV -- Three weeks after the initial mailing, a postcard was

sent to non-respondents. No follow-up mailing was conducted for the

University of South Florida sample. Data collection occurred over a

period of ten weeks. Table 1 illustrates the actual number of returns

and the percentage of returns from each professional school acquired

from both mailings.

Instrumentat ion

After an extensive review of the literature, it was discovered

that there was no available measure, concerning sexual harassment, for

utilization in descriptive research. A questionnaire was developed to

assess the extent to which undergraduate and graduate students exper-

ienced various forms of sexual harassment. In addition, the question-

naire provided for the examination of the beliefs and attitudes students

hold in relationship to sexual harassment. (See Appendix C.)


The questionnaire was developed to encompass the various compo-

nents of the definition of sexual harassment. Major components of the

definition were identified from the newsletter on the Project on the

Status and Education of Women:

a. verbal sexual harassment of male and female
students: sexist jokes, remarks, sex-role
b. subtle and blatant forms of sexual harassment:
inappropriate physical contact, sexual advances,
propositioning in return for grades. (1978,
p. 3)

Additional questions referred to opinions regarding the reporting

of incidents of sexual harassment, students sexually harassing instruc-

tors, and a general statement about the occurrence of sexual harassment

on campus. The questionnaire was pilot-tested on four separate groups

during the Winter and Sunner quarters of 1979 at the University of


Phase I

The first pilot group consisted of 18 Counselor Education graduate

students at the University of Florida. They contributed to the refine-

ment of the items and format by completing the questionnaire and offering

anonymous critiques, followed by verbal feedback. The items were then

rewritten and submitted to a review panel of five professors in the

Counselor Education Department and the Office for Student Services at

the University of Florida. The review panel was given a definition of

sexual harassment in a cover letter explaining the purpose of the

questionnaire. All panel members agreed that the questionnaire demon-

strated "face" and "content" validity. The Fry Readability Formula was

used to determine that the questionnaire was appropriate for college-

level readers (Fry 1968).

Phase II

The questionnaire was then distributed to 29 undergraduate stu-

dents participating in a leadership training program conducted by the

Office for Student Services at the University of Florida during the

Winter quarter 1979. A test-retest design was utilized by adminis-

tering the identical questionnaire two weeks after the first testing

sessions. A Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient was ob-

tained for each pre- and post-test item. The correlation coefficient

for the questionnaire was found to be .81. Further investigation into

the pre- and post-test relationship utilized a T-Transformation Matrix

to demonstrate the relationships to be significant at the .001 level

of significance.

An item analysis was conducted to establish construct validity and

reliability. Analysis of variance was used to provide a factor analysis.

Both the pre- and post-test factors included the same items. The post-

test factors that accounted for 50 percent of the variance in the scores

are the same factors as those on the pre-test.

Phase III

The questionnaire was revised in format to include two separate

sections: attitudes and beliefs concerning sexual harassment and per-

sonal experiences of sexual harassment. The items from the original

questionnaire with an item correlation of below .4 were either reworded

or discarded.

The response format for Part I of the questionnaire was revised to

a four-point Likert-type scale. The "undecided" choice was eliminated


to create a forced choice and reduce the tendency toward a response

set. Part II of the questionnaire contained items assessing personal

experiences by recording "yes" or "no" responses. The Fry Readability

Formula detennrmined that the questionnaire was appropriate for college-

level readers. The review panel, once again, agreed that the question-

naire demonstrated face and content validity.

Phase IV

During the Sunmer quarter 1979, at the University of Florida, the

questionnaire was administered to one graduate class in the Educational

Foundations department and one undergraduate class in the Criminal Jus-

tice department. The total sample consisted of 35 students. The

questionnaire was administered using a three-week interval between pre-

and post-tests. A Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient was

obtained for each item and for the total questionnaire. The correlation

coefficient for the questionnaire was found to be .80. Once again, a

T-Transformation Matrix demonstrated that all pre- and post-test rela-

tionships were significant at the .001 level of significance.

An analysis of variance using a Principal Factor Analysis was con-

ducted to determine the reliability and construct validity. Three

factors accounted for approximately 38 percent of the total factor vari-

ance. These three factors were labeled "Attitudes and beliefs con-

cerning blatant forms of sexual harassment," "Subtle forms of sexual

harassment," and "Personal experiences of blatant forms of sexual ha-

rassment. (See Appendix B for detailed analysis.)

All statistical analyses were computed through the use of the

STATJOB System of statistical programs for use on UNIVAC 1100 series

computers. The DSTAT2 program was utilized for the correlational

analyses and the FACIOR3 program was used for the factor analyses.

Phase V

The questionnaire was pilot-tested once again during Sumner quarter

1979 at the University of Florida. The questionnaire was distributed

to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in two classes in the

Behavioral Sciences Department. The data from the 70 questionnaires

were examined in terms of the percentage of agreement with each item

of the questionnaire. (See Appendix C.)

Final Revisions

The format of the questionnaire was slightly revised. The re-

visions were made primarily in the instruction format. The question-

naire was previously accompanied by a computer answer sheet. Since the

questionnaire was distributed through the mail, the instructions were

revised. The demographic data requested in the study were:

a. date of birth c. major area of study
b. marital status d. level in school

Analysis of Data

The accumulation of data in the study yielded two primary groupings

of data: scores on the questionnaire and the demographic data. The

demographic data focused upon traditional or non-traditional fields of

study at the graduate and undergraduate levels of study. The questionnaire

responses were examined in relation to the demographic data. The first

three hypotheses were subjected to a multivariate analysis of variance

(MANOVA): (Clyde 1979)

1. There is no difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment between women in the
traditional professional major area of education
and those in selected non-traditional profes-
sional major areas of study.
2. There is no difference in beliefs and attitudes
of women students among selected non-traditional
major areas of study.
3. There is no difference in attitudes and beliefs
concerning sexual harassment between graduate and
undergraduate women students.

The MANOVA was used to analyze the interactions of each independent

variable (traditional and non-traditional areas of study, and graduate

and undergraduate levels of study) upon the dependent variable. In

order to reject the null hypotheses, an F-value significant at the .05

level was required.

Log-linear analyses were used to analyze the second three hypoth-

eses of the study:

4. There is no difference between women students
in selected non-traditional professional areas
of study and the traditional professional
major area of education in the frequency of
sexual harassment.
5. There is no difference in the frequency of
sexual harassment of women students among
selected non-traditional major areas of study.
6. There is no difference between the two groups
(undergraduate women students and graduate
women students) in the frequency of occurrence
of sexual harassment.

The log-linear analysis was an analysis of frequency tables which

generated chi-square statistics. This technique was used to analyze

qualitative or categorical data fran descriptive research:

The result is the identification of the main
effects, simple interactions, and higher order
interactions that contribute to the frequency
patterns in the data being analyzed. (Milone
and Wolk 1980, p. 162)

Three-way log-linear models, which are analogous to Analysis of

Variance models, were constructed. Since multiple testing of variables

was required, a chi-square lower than .05 level of significance was

necessary in order to accept the significant difference at the .05 level.

This technique allowed for examination of the main effects and the inter-

action between harassment (yes or no) and major area of study (tradi-

tional or non-traditional), harassment and level of study (graduate or

undergraduate), and the frequency of "yes" and "no" responses.

The following hypothesis was subjected to a canonical correlation


7. There is no difference between attitudes
and beliefs of wonen students towards sexual
harassment and their experiences of sexual

This technique was used to obtain composite variables from items

in Part I and Part II of the questionnaire. It enabled exploration

into the relationship of variables in each part of the questionnaire

(attitudes/beliefs and experiences). A Pearson correlation coefficient

was obtained for composites.

The Biomedical Computer Programs P-series (BMDP-79) was utilized

for the data analyses. Clyde's MANOVA (1969) was used as the program

for the multivariate analysis of variance.



The following limitations of this study are noted:

1. The generalizability of this study is limited
to female students, in selected professional
programs within the state university system of
2. Implicit in the design of a survey by mail is
that the response rate may be a function of
"yes" or "no" responses from people with a par-
ticular bias.
3. Approximately one-third of the mailing occurred
during the last week of the quarter, thus limiting
the numbers of students who actually received and
returned the questionnaires.


This study was designed to investigate the attitudes, beliefs,

and experiences concerning sexual harassment of female students in

higher education. The Questionnaire on Sexual Harassment was used

to facilitate this examination. Appendix B, Part I of the question-

naire focuses upon attitudes and beliefs concerning sexual harassment

on campus. Part II of the questionnaire is concerned with the stu-

dent's personal experiences of sexual harassment. Selected items

from the questionnaire have been analyzed in reference to the inde-

pendent variables of "professional school" (non-traditional and tra-

ditional) and "level in school" (undergraduate and graduate). The

analyses of data in this chapter parallel the order of the seven

hypotheses listed in Chapter Three.

Demographic Data

Sample. A total of 2,507 questionnaires were mailed to female

students enrolled in selected professional schools in the state uni-

versity system of Florida. Graduate and undergraduate education were

the programs selected to represent the traditional programs. The non-

traditional programs selected were dentistry, engineering, law, medi-

cine, and veterinary medicine. The entire population of female stu-

dents enrolled in the schools of dentistry, law, medicine, and veter-

inary medicine in the state university system of Florida were surveyed.

The total enrollment of women in engineering programs at these schools

was surveyed. A sample was drawn from the undergraduate and graduate

schools of education from each of the three universities in the study.

As can be seen from Table 2, a response rate of over 40 percent

of the total sample was obtained. The same response rate was achieved

for each professional area of study with the exception of undergraduate

education and medicine. Table 2 also shows a 47 percent response rate

for the non-traditional professional schools and a 37 percent response

rate for the traditional professional schools. In addition, the grad-

uate level response rate is shown to be 13 percent greater than the

undergraduate response rate. Due to the small number of women in

dental, medical, and veterinary schools, the groups were combined

under the area of "medicine" to facilitate and improve upon statisti-

cal computations.

Institutional information. Florida State University (FSU), the

University of Florida (UF), and the University of South Florida (USF),

are the only universities in the state university system of Florida

that offer preparatory professional programs such as dentistry, law,

medicine, and veterinary medicine. These three universities are also

the largest universities within the state system. The areas of en-

gineering and education were included in this study for a comparison

of the undergraduate levels of study.

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