Why is sexual harassment so widespread? Recent headlines reveal sexual harassment scandals at Fox News—against Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly—and a long list of technology and financial organizations including Uber and Tesla. Additional offenders play on sports teams at multiple universities. Frank Bruni of the New York Times writes that we need to take a close look at the culture of masculinity in the United States to understand the source and the pervasiveness of sexual harassment.
The American Bar Association (ABA) recently passed national standards that prohibit harassment of opposing counsel, witnesses, coworkers, court personnel, and others in the course of practicing law. Elizabeth Olson of the New York Times reports that according to the new standards, “harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct” based on race, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or marital or economic status.
In a separate article, Olson explains that harassment has long been intentionally used in the legal profession to intimidate or fluster opposing counsel and witnesses as well as to reinforce male-dominated attitudes in the legal profession. She reports that a recent ABA study found that “stereotypical sexist remarks to female lawyers contribute to their underrepresentation in the legal field.” The study also revealed these statistics: