mPower member survey examines work-related sexual harassment

by Francis Monfort30 Jan 2018
Seventy-five percent of female mortgage professionals have experienced at least one work-related sexual harassment incident, according to a member survey conducted by mPower.

An initiative by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), mPower, or MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach, is a networking platform for women in the real estate-finance industry.

MPower said that it conducted the voluntary survey as the national conversation continues to focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, dominating the news from national politics to entertainment events.

The survey found that 87% of those respondents who reported at least one incident of sexual harassment said an incident occurred while they were in their twenties. Fifty-six percent said an incident occurred in their thirties.

Aside from the relationship between age and likelihood of experience sexual harassment, the survey also revealed a trend among women who suffered from workplace sexual harassment of not feeling that they have recourse through HR or their supervisors.

Of those who experienced an incident of harassment, only 8% reported the incident to HR and only 20% ever reported it to someone in the chain of command.

Additionally, the survey revealed that the most frequent location of an incident was at the office and the most frequent offending behavior was inappropriate comments. More than 50% of those who reported at least one incident reported inappropriate touching, and just fewer than 50% reported unwanted sexual advances.

In light of recent events, respondents said they are now more likely to call out perpetrators and to report incidents to someone in command or in HR.

Between Dec. 11–22, 13.5% of the 2,000 women members of the mPower community answered the survey, which was based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission definition of sexual harassment in the workplace.

MPower clarified that the survey not intended to be a scientific survey, adding that it cannot attribute the results to the broader population of women working in real estate finance.

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