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Sexual harassment rife in the events industry, says survey

Respondents claim complaints regularly 'laughed off' or ignored

A survey among female event professionals shows that 61 per cent of respondents have encountered inappropriate behaviour since working in the events industry.

Of these, 19 per cent said they have experienced inappropriate behaviour within their place of work, eight per cent whilst travelling on business and 34 per cent on site at an event.

Fifty-nine per cent of our respondents said someone had used their position of power to try to take advantage of them or a colleague and that they were aware of predatory behaviour within their organisation.

Many respondents said complaints of harassment had been laughed off or they were told not to make a fuss. One respondent commented: “I just laughed it off as I felt powerless at the time and was afraid of being called melodramatic.”

Respondents have also noted that some men in significant positions of power have had to be humoured after making inappropriate comments or advances and management have insisted that the complainant brushed it under the carpet to save embarrassment.

When asked if harassment has been reported, answers ranged from: “I did not report it officially as I did not want to embarrass the client and make an awkward situation worse” to “yes, I reported it but it was dismissed.”

Another said: “I was told that part of being in the role was to put up with ignorant people.”

Some responses focused on the apparent blurry line between hospitality and networking. One respondent answered, “I have been told that this kind of thing is just 'what happens in the industry.”

The issue of inappropriate behaviour during FAM trips was also raised in our survey, with the notion of boundaries being blurred because of the easy access to alcohol available in the industry. Anecdotes ranged from having to deal with inappropriate touching, advances and more.

The survey was carried out among the female readers of M&IT and and 84 responses have been received to date

In the March issue of M&IT we will publish a full report on the outcome of this survey. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in the above article please get in touch with Lucy Saxton at: all information will be treated with absolute confidentiality.

  • Anonymous user 05/02/2018

    It shouldn't need saying that this is unsurprising given the revelations coming out in the wider world, but I can't help but think this survey is jumping on the band wagon, particularly as it only focuses on one gender. Men are also subject to abuse and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, and at the hands of women. I know, I've experienced it. We shouldn't be demonising one sex and not the other, we should be dealing with the problems that exist as a whole and work towards solutions. I'm in no doubt women suffer more and that we live in a male dominated world, which adds to that, but it's not healthy to shine the microscope on a single sex as if it's somehow a female only issue.

  • Anonymous user 01/02/2018

    For me, the slap in the face, or the kick on the shin worked miracles most of the times. Really serious matters, beyond the "death hand" on my knee or where the "back changes its name", were reported and i had to live with the consequences, as in any decision we take in our lives. I must add that my career as Top Model ended on my first visit to the Agency with my book of photos. If to even start on that world i had to pass by the couch, or bed of some decision maker, the answer was...not really! I now know the difference between serious harassment and stupid behaviour, and i hope all women as well. By the way it happens also to men, only they do not talk much about.

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