Study shows a fifth of Bajan workers have fallen victim to sexual harassment

A recent study shows that approximately one-fifth of all workers in Barbados have fallen prey to sexual harassment on the job.

The study was conducted six years ago by researchers Marsha Hinds-Layne and Dr Dwayne Devonish of the University of the West Indies.

However, its findings are only now being made public, amid widespread national debate over the proposed Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, 2017, which was piloted by Government in the Senate nearly two weeks ago with a view to stamping out harassment of all kinds in the workplace.


Marsha Hinds-Layne
Dr Dwayne Devonish

Under the Bill, which has already been approved by the Upper House, but is still under active discussion in the Lower Chamber, the “use of sexually suggestive words, comments, jokes, gestures or actions that annoy, alarm or abuse a person” may be considered sexual harassment, so too “the initiation of uninvited physical contact with a person; the initiation of unwelcome sexual advances or the requests of sexual favours from a person; asking a person intrusive questions that are of a sexual nature that pertain to that person’s private life; transmitting sexually offensive writing or material of any kind; making sexually offensive telephone calls to a person; or any other sexually suggestive conduct of an offensive nature”.

In the recommendations that followed their 2011 study, Devonish and Hinds-Layne had called for implementation of “comprehensive and balanced” sexual harassment legislation “as a means of curbing this growing problem and offering protection for those most vulnerable in the organizational context”.

In all 502 employees in the private and public sectors completed questionnaires, with 37 per cent of respondents reporting that they had witnessed sexual harassment in one form or another at work.

In the majority of cases – 28 per cent – the perpetrators were males and the victims females.

However, while a quarter of respondents said they were subjected to sexual remarks and pet names, a fifth of them said they had actually fallen victim to “touching and fondling” and were subjected to “unnecessary sexual gestures” on one or two occasions.

In terms of age, the study found that persons between 46-55 years were significantly more likely to fall prey to sexual harassment on the job than to those in the younger age categories. However, sexual harassment was said to occur regardless of sex, job level, employment status, sector of employment, educational level, or nationality.   

Participants in the study were drawn from the retail/wholesale (20%), tourism and hospitality (5%), financial and banking services (10%), business and professional services (6%), community, personal, and social services (5%), educational and cultural services (8%) and manufacturing (3%).

The majority of the respondents were female (65%), between the ages of 26 and 35 years (35%), with tertiary level education (65%) and permanent employment (54%).

In terms of reporting intentions, about 54 per cent of respondents indicated that they would report sexual harassment at work to the authorities, but more than a third of them were unsure.

However, women (62%) were more likely than men (39 %) to report sexual harassment in the workplace, so soo respondents in the 36-45 age group, compared to those in the 21-25 age group.

10 Responses to Study shows a fifth of Bajan workers have fallen victim to sexual harassment

  1. Shelly Ross
    Shelly Ross October 23, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    only a fifth….got to be wrong

  2. Oliver Smith October 24, 2017 at 10:33 am

    How could a six year old study be recent? And how do the responses of 507 employees become a fifth of Bajan Workers?

    Just asking?

    This kind of slack reporting calls the accuracy of the report it is purporting to highlight into question.

    • Marva October 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

      This is probably done using a sampling method. are you saying this isn’t scientific? Have you consider these questions before drawing a conclusion about the story.
      how many Bajan workers are there? is this a reasonable sample size? what is the confidence level etc?

  3. Mark My Word October 24, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Wunna ain’t add in the ones whose Nooksie get bite up

    • Kevin October 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm


  4. Ossie Moore October 24, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Lord!! If that is all de run down fuh this sexual harrasment thing, then I wonder if dem will have enough paper to spread to de man Annel in de High Court!

  5. Cheryl Price October 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Wow about time it happened to me before I leave Barbados, that’s why I leave Bim my supervisor a male was threatening me about loss of job while I was working at one of Goddard enterprises businesses, I reported him to the immediate manager in charge whom I had great respect for and he ignores me completely as it was a regular thing going on in this company I never felt so abuse in my life. It was a pleasure to walk into that company the week before I leave Barbados and tell that horrible creature of a supervisor to go to hell. I just got my last paycheck and leave that place, We were young women working to feed ourselves and these nasty men want to use our bodies to keep the job. Some of my co-workers did the deed and went into depression after the sexual abuse as other workers would talk about them as said super visor was not ashamed to tell the other men what he did to the girls/young women and laughing at them. So if you came in with pride it was ripped away from you. And yes the pay was good so they needed the job, sorry it took so long to do something about the sexual abuse and bullying in the work place in Barbados.

  6. luther thorne October 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I would like all the women in Barbados who were sexually harassed and who had to give him some to get through in Barbados to come foward. Many a man in Barbados would run for cover. Barbados is not ‘ Amurica’ although some bout here think so.

  7. Milli Watt October 26, 2017 at 9:54 am

    only a fifth…………not bad

  8. luther thorne October 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    NUPW now confirmed that it is rampant in the Public Service. I would like an audit an investigation done going back to the 1960s. Many a man would tremble in his boots.Many a woman had to work double even triple . Some unscrupulous men operated like plantation owner/ managers and took advantage of a lot of young women. I would like that Investigation now! But it will not happen in Barbados.


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