Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK book-industry survey finds widespread sexual harassment

UK book-industry journal the Bookseller has released the results of its survey on sexual harassment in the industry, with over half of the 388 respondents reporting that they have experienced harassment.

Fifty-four percent of women and 34% of men who responded to the survey said they had been sexually harassed. The incidents ranged from ‘crude or demeaning language used about women in the workplace, or at work-related social events, to suggestive comments and unwanted touching and groping, inappropriate sexual advances, predatory approaches made under cover of professional contact and assault. Two respondents to the survey said that they had been raped,’ reports the Bookseller.

The Bookseller said that reports of sexual harassment came from across the industry, however, the risk appeared to be higher for publicists (66%) and booksellers (61%). The Bookseller also noted that harassment was often carried out by ‘more senior or high-status male colleagues, professional contacts, authors or clients, and the targets are often young, in junior roles, new in the workplace or working freelance’.

The Bookseller found that just 30% of women and 37% of men who had been sexually harassed had reported the incident, with those who chose not to report citing reasons such as feelings of fear, shame and embarrassment; concerns that their claims would be dismissed or have an impact on their career; and the subtle and pervasive nature of harassment.

Last month, US book-industry journal Publishers Weekly also reported on numerous examples of sexual harassment in the industry after conducting its own survey. It concluded that ‘in spite of publishing’s high percentage of female workers, the industry still has a sexual harassment problem’.

Books+Publishing will soon be inviting readers to participate in a survey on sexual harassment in the Australian book industry.


Category: International news