More than a quarter of men think it is acceptable to tell sexual jokes in the workplace, a study revealed. Picture: Needpix
More than a quarter of men think it is acceptable to tell sexual jokes in the workplace, a study revealed. Picture: Needpix

Let's start calling out men for sexual jokes in the workplace

By Daily Mail and lifestyle reporter Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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More than a quarter of men think it is acceptable to tell sexual jokes in the workplace, a study revealed.

A survey of 20 000 people in 27 countries was carried out to mark International Women’s Day which is celebrated on March 8.

It found that 28 percent of men thought stories of a sexual nature were acceptable at work, compared with 16 percent of women.

The research, by Ipsos MORI and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, found that British men are more accepting of such behaviour than their counterparts in countries such as Australia, Canada and the US.

But the study also found more British men (58 percent) than women (48 percent) would be comfortable calling out a senior colleague for making a sexist comment.

Kelly Beaver, managing director of Ipsos MORI public affairs, said: "Our research shows that we still have a way to go when it comes to levelling the playing field, especially in the workplace."

Durban-based counselling psychologist Rakhi Beekrum has some advice on how to handle workplace sexist comments. She explains that even when men brush it off as a joke when they’re called out, their comments are still hurtful and offensive. So how do women address it without appearing emotional or stunned? 

Beekrum suggests the following responses:

  • How one felt when the comment was made (e.g. ‘I felt disrespected when you said….’).
  • Ask the person to please explain what they meant by making the comment.
  • Telling them not to speak to you in this manner.

“In my experience, some men, when called out on their behaviour, become defensive and turn the focus to the woman overreacting, being ‘sensitive’ or uptight and not being able to take a joke.

“Your feelings as a woman are valid, so do not allow someone who has offended you to make you feel that your emotions are invalid,” Beekrum concluded.

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