This is Why Women Shouldn’t Just Quit their Jobs
16-Apr-2017


“She can find another job. Why doesn’t she just quit?” Sexual harassment in the workplace is something that far too many women have to deal with on a daily basis. Yet when a woman decides to stay despite the harassment, or reports the harassment to a superior, she is called out as to why she didn’t “just quit.” This sort of response is not okay: in the face of harassment, women should not have to leave their jobs. The harassment should instead be addressed.

Asking women why they don’t “just quit” if they are being harassed is similar to asking women in abusive relationships why they don’t “just leave.” Both are a form of victim blaming, placing the need to do “what’s right” on the woman’s shoulders rather than her abuser or harasser. Both questions imply that the situation is the woman’s fault, that if she just left, everything would be okay, that the abuse/harassment would stop.

If the woman decides to quit her job (or leave her abusive partner), the harassment will likely stop (unless the abuser/harasser continues to pursue her). But what about the next woman who comes along? Men who commit violence against women demonstrate patterns of abuse and harassment: it doesn’t just stop at one woman. Perhaps the male employee doesn’t harass any of the other current female employees. But this does not mean that he might not start, nor does it mean he might not harass a new hire.

Furthermore, why is it OK to “reward” a man who has done something wrong? Why should the woman have to give up her job—one that she probably worked very hard to get to—while the man, who has done something wrong, gets to keep his? Bluntly put: why should a man be allowed to get away with a crime?

Women don’t like to report sexual harassment in the workplace, for fear they might be seen as a “problem employee” or worse, especially if their harasser also happens to be their boss. In the latter case they may fear being fired.  But the woman who leaves the workplace without getting justice may end up feeling like she was imagining things, or she may believe she should accept such behavior at a future job.

It is the duty of the employer to provide a safe workplace for all. If one employee is making another feel uncomfortable or unsafe, the issue should not just be swept under the rug. Instead of telling women to quit, the harassment needs to be stopped.


Related Articles

Dress codes and the messages they convey
Apr 23

Dress codes and the messages they convey

Last year, a British woman named Nicola Thorpe was sent home from work for not wearing high heels. Her subsequent petition to change the law, which was denied by the UK government last week, nevertheless has drawn attention to dress codes and sexism. Although dress codes apply to both genders and are found everywhere...

Read More
Depression and the gender gap
Apr 09

Depression and the gender gap

Depression is the main cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which chose to highlight awareness about depression this past World Health Day (April 7th), a shocking 300 million people currently live with depression. Yet depression is still widely stigmatized,...

Read More
Leveling the playing field
Apr 02

Leveling the playing field

When sportswear giant Nike announced a few weeks ago that it was introducing the Nike Pro Hijab, the reactions were varied and somewhat predictable. The Pro Hijab, a specially designed headscarf for Muslim women who play sports, was both celebrated and denounced by critics—yet there is no doubt it will be a game...

Read More
Too dangerous to leave?
Mar 26

Too dangerous to leave?

The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is the moment the woman decides to leave.  When the woman finds the courage to leave, the abuser has lost his power and control, and in order to regain that control he may escalate his behavior. Statistics show that around 75% of abuse victims who are murdered...

Read More
Stop The Robbery and Give Women their 23 Cents
Mar 19

Stop The Robbery and Give Women their 23 Cents

Every March the Commission on the Status of Women meets for two weeks to discuss women’s progress and emerging issues. The Commission, which convenes government representatives, civil society and United Nations organizations at UN Headquarters, focuses on a different priority theme each year. In keeping with...

Read More
A day without women
Mar 12

A day without women

What would the world be like without women? On March 8th, International Women’s Day, cities and towns across the United States got a glimpse of what would happen if women took the day off. The organizers of the Women’s March, which took place back in January, invited women to take part in A Day Without...

Read More