The Gig Economy Is Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment

Source: Nathan Heller, New Yorker, January 25, 2018

…..Slowly, and in drips, though, data are trickling in. This afternoon, HoneyBook, a platform for freelance events-industry workers—photographers, caterers, stationery designers, and so forth—released results from a sexual-harassment survey it ran, in December, among users. The sample is limited, and hardly random. (The company sent a survey invitation to thirty-eight thousand of its users; a thousand and eighty-seven participated anonymously, and ninety-seven per cent were women.) But it’s not nothing, and the data start to light a candle in a room that has been dark.

The harassment numbers in the HoneyBook report are—one wishes this were a shock—high. Fifty-four per cent of the freelancer respondents reported being sexually harassed in the course of their work. Of those, seventy-seven per cent cited “unprofessional comments” about their appearance, three-quarters were called “demeaning nicknames” on the job, and a horrifying sixty per cent reported physical intimidation. Eighty-seven per cent never brought these incidents to anyone’s attention, even though eighteen per cent say they were harassed by the same person more than four times. (More than eighty per cent, in fact, continued working on whatever the harassment-filled project had been.) Those who did lodge complaints found their claims ignored more than half of the time…..