Office politics plays a role in the route women take when challenging sexual harassment.
A study of women working in the public sector in Israel found that while 67 percent of women never or rarely experienced sexual harassment on the job, one-third said they had experienced a medium to high amount of gender harassment in the workplace. And women tended to quit their jobs as the result of a harassment incident-not because they felt powerful or in control, but because they felt weak.
Researchers looked at how the office politics of an organization affected women's belief in their own ability to change the situation. In organizations where internal politics played a greater role in the decision-making process, female employees reported more instances of sexual harassment. In organizations that placed a greater emphasis on equality and fairness, women tended to fight for fair treatment.
The study defined sexual harassment as offensive, sexually suggestive comments (gender harassment), repeated harassment intended to lead to sexual relations, and actual sexual coercion.