Rise of sexual harassment at workplace in Asia


Executive Summary

This essay paper seeks to highlight the rise of sexual harassment at most workplaces in Asia. Sexual harassment has been described as that quest to sexual affairs with colleagues, and for this case in a workplace environment.  The primary objective of the present essay is to discuss the root causes of sexual harassment in Japan, China, India and other Asian countries, the implications to parties involved as well as the possible mitigations to address the issue. Some causes of sexual harassment addressed in this paper include, cases of junior staff members asking for favors from their seniors and vice versa, gender based discrimination, level of supervision as well as unprofessional dress code in the places of work.

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The essay also presents some implications associated with sexual harassment including discomfort in places of work, fear, reduced performance of institutions and losing jobs in the process. The article is also inclined towards identifying possible solutions to curb sexual harassment and improving performance of individual workers and that of Asian institutions. For instance, the essay enumerates ensuring free working conditions for both men and women, using open office layout to ensure workers operate from the same office to limit cases of sexual harassment, fighting sexual discrimination at all costs as the possible some of the possible mitigation measures.  In addition, the paper suggests supporting fellow employees who have ever been subjected to sexual harassment to overcome fatigue and stigma. In this paper also, meticulous and frequent advice to the young generation especially on their dress code forms a major mitigation towards sexual harassment in India.


The term sexual harassment as coined implies or describes the problem of orthodoxly conduct of sexual nature at workplaces.  This malicious act happens to staff members both in small and large business organizations, it occurs to employees on the farms and plantations, to businessmen and traders in marketing places, and to students and teachers in learning institutions. In Asian countries such China, India, Japan among others sexual harassment has been in the recent years recognized as a vice as well as a violation of human rights and dignity.

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According to different scholars, the practice has undermined equality of opportunity and treatment of persons from different genders. It has been found out that, the cause of sexual harassment rotate around men’s natural sex drive as well as provocation by the female gender through their dress code. The existence of different cultural values and norms are sometimes implied to be the cause of the act. In variety of Asian countries, western liberalism has played a key role for the birth of sexual harassment. The existing literature findings suggests that, sexual harassment forms gender discrimination which does not relate to actual biological distinctiveness but to social roles attributed to women and men in economic and social life. The essay therefore, highlights and explores the major causes of sexual harassment and consequently provides measure to mitigate this unwanted practice in workplaces (McDonald 15).

Rise of sexual harassment at workplace in Asia

Sexual harassment provides different definitions from different authors and people at large. It is therefore viewed as request of sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and other verbal or physical conduct of sex in nature. It poses a challenge for the affected workers in their environment, this is because it may affect one’s job performance and in return, success is inhibited upon which, one is hindered from promotion or even loses the job completely. Sexual harassment affects all genders as outlined by researchers. It is evident that in Asian countries, say India, it is normal to witness such cases in short duration of time. Based on their marital status or age, different genders can experience sexual harassment at a particular time. The level of supervision however, is viewed as the reason as to why young women emerge to be sexual harassers. In addition, different job status under working context may result to sexual harassment in the sense that, sexual favors are used to maintain employment in such institutions or even earn promotion. This creates fear among the workers who portray uncomfortable behavior whenever they are subjected to sexual harassment or experiences, and hence under performance of an institution may result (Richardson and Taylor 248).

Researchers have argued that, such situations or contexts may result to sexual harassment and therefore, scholars seek to answer the question of rising cases of sexual harassment in Asian countries. Some of these reasons include; the relationship between two parties in a context (work place) may influence the perceptions of sexual harassment. For instance, a woman may portray comfort from any verbal comment or even a touch from a male workmate, simply because the relationship between the two people in this context may seem appropriate to her. In addition, job status in an organization may result to sexual harassment at work places. This defines power differential between the two parties that may influence perception behaviors and in return, potential harassments are experienced from supervisors as opposed to the peers, which is quite offensive. This leaves the low ranked workers at risk of losing their jobs which is legally and ethically wrong (Mainiero and Jones 190).

Scholars have found that in India for example, discrimination framework has taken its course and as a result, sexual harassment is viewed as normal in work places with nothing done to prevent future cases. In this framework, there exists no free and conducive working environment such that, different genders can exercise their working rights in such institutions. This has led to many cases that are reported or witnessed frequently indicating increased rate of sexual harassment (Wynen 348).

Physical versus verbal behavior is also highlighted and has contributed to the rise of sexual harassment in India. From the research, touching (physical behavior) is evaluated negatively than verbal comments among the workers in a working context. The dress code of women may greatly affect the male population in the work place and in return result to sex harassment. The physical layout of the working place may indirectly contribute to sexual harassment. This is evident in a scenario where the supervisors have their private offices which may be used to ask for sexual advances that are totally against the values in a working area. This comes because of interactions among the employees primarily in offices while undertaking their duties. Excessive interactions may result to sexual harassment in the sense that, the work setting may propose potentially harassing environment (Penrod and Fusilier 162).

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The current state of the world as outlined by the researchers has showed sexual harassment at work places may be due to excessive use of internet as well as social media for personal or professional purposes. This is because people are able to tag all the information even that posted during holidays and in return, these posts may provoke a sexual harassment among the employees. The organizations encourage great use of internet to bring in new ideas for production. Through this, it is clear that questioning any disturbing posts by employer seem inappropriate and hence, workplace romance may be witnessed. Under all circumstances this is ethically wrong.

Moreover, India (a country in Asia) exercises labour laws in which any case regarding sexual harassment can be resolved. However, this law particularly deals with cases emanating from working vicinities and hence any case outside the work place is null. This has encouraged the increment of sexual harassment cases since the laws do not address the situation fully and comprehensively. Tort laws have also contributed to the rise of these cases. This is because it does not compensate the affected but instead, the victim caters for the damage caused on him/her. Due to this, the Asian countries stand at a dangerous position to protect its citizens from such situations (McDonald and Charlesworth 96).

Difference in perspectives is a common thing between men and women and in return, different views are given when the question of sexual harassment arises. This is because women may find situations as sexual harassment while men do not see the essence of sexual harassment in same situation. The research therefore indicates that, men will give a positive attitude than females if presented with situations that may seem ambiguous at work place. Respondent’s previous experience may result to sexual harassment at work, this is to say, if the worker came across sexual harassment previously, they may not always react positively to the situation at work places.

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By explaining the environment contributing to sexual harassment the researchers went ahead to give the implication emanating from this, at individual level, society and organization at large. Harassment fears in an employee may lead to organization’s reduced performance. This is because an employee performance is very vital and failure to play their role due to fear may lead to reduced success of the company. Upon evaluation, the employees may also lose their jobs. In contrary, employees succumbing to sexual harassment for personal benefit say, promotion or to retain their jobs may result to malfunction since the seniors may not question their working capability because they also suffer from the fear of revelation by their juniors. This results to underperformance in an organization and affects the social responsibility to the community at large. Sometimes employees may leave office, which puts the organization in a dilemma as to where to find another qualified staff (Hersch 22).


Several measures against sexual harassment have been put across in working places. Employers should ensure that, a good and free working environment is provided in which workers can work without discrimination regardless of their gender, and in return offer their professional skills which lead to success of an individual, organization and community in general. To avoid contextual factors, office layout can be designed in favor of open working environment for all employees with their ranks observed. In addition, creation of awareness should play a key role to highlight rights of inferior group at work places, and hence they can speak out if taken for granted. Employers should help those who have previously suffered sexual harassment and handle any future cases positively until justice for the victim is enhanced. The society can provide stern, meticulous and frequent advice to the young generation (women) on how to dress and address the fellow work colleagues as well as the elderly in the organization.

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  1. Hersch, Joni. “Sexual Harassment In The Workplace.” IZA World of Labor (2015): n. pag 22-100. Web.
  2. Mainiero, L. A., and K. J. Jones. “Sexual Harassment versus Workplace Romance: Social Media Spillover and Textual Harassment in the Workplace.” Academy of Management Perspectives 27.3 (2013): 187-203. Web.
  3. McDonald, Paula, and Sara Charlesworth. “Framing Sexual Harassment through Media Representations.” Women’s Studies International Forum 37 (2013): 95-103. Web.
  4. McDonald, Paula. “Workplace Sexual Harassment 30 Years On: A Review of the Literature.” International Journal of Management Reviews 14.1 (2011): 1-17. Web.
  5. Penrod, Charlie, and Marcelline Fusilier. “Improving Sexual Harassment Protections: An Examination of the Legal Compliance of U.S. University Sexual Harassment Policies.” Journal of Workplace Rights 15.2 (2010): 151-167. Web.
  6. Richardson, Brian K., and Juandalynn Taylor. “Sexual Harassment at the Intersection of Race and Gender: A Theoretical Model of the Sexual Harassment Experiences of Women of Color.” Western Journal of Communication 73.3 (2009): 248-272. Web.
  7. Wynen, Jan. “Sexual Harassment: The Nexus between Gender and Workplace Authority: Evidence from the Australian Public Service.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 75.3 (2016): 345-358. Web.
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