On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

How to handle workplace sexual harassment

Share story

Some of the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment.
Top row from left, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette, Mira Sorvino and bottom row from left, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Asia Argento and Ashley Judd. They are among the many women who have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein in on-the-record reports that detailed claims of sexual abuse.
AP file

It's a daunting problem: when people report sexual harassment in the workplace, they often face retaliation. Why is this still so pervasive?

"Sexual harassment's really about power as much as it is about sex, if not more," Susan Chira told MPR News host Kerri Miller. "Men still have enormous amounts of power and feel that they can use that power to coerce sexual favors or to come on to women."

Victims of sexual harassment face many obstacles to speaking out. "You have to think about it from that moment in time when this happens to a person," said Sheerine Alemzadeh. "They're sitting there and they're thinking, 'What are the benefits to me for coming forward? What are the benefits to my workplace?'" Alemzadeh said the more important question is: why do victims have to make this calculation?

Miller spoke to Alemzadeh, an attorney and co-founder of Healing to Action, an organization that works to end gender violence and Chira, a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for The New York Times.

 Use the audio player above to hear the full conversation.