This study examined sexual harassment experiences of Mexican immigrant farmworking women (n = 150) employed on California farms. Of the estimated one million California farmworkers, 78% are Latino, mostly from Mexico, and 28% are women. Unlike gender-segregated worksites of Mexico, women farmworkers in the United States labor alongside men, facilitating harassment from coworkers and supervisors. Simultaneous sexist, racist, and economic discrimination are comparable to converging lanes of automobile traffic (Crenshaw, 2000) that women, standing at the intersections, manage to avoid harm. Findings highlight how discrimination shapes women's experiences and demonstrate the need for institutional policies to protect them
University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA iwaugh@ucsceduFAU
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This article examined sexual harassment experiences among 150 Mexican immigrant female farm workers in California. The study focused on factors that increased women's risk of sexual harassment, how female farm worker's experiences may differ from other groups of women, and how power and agency limit response options are specifically discussed. Results indicated that 97% of the women reported sexual harassment from coworkers and superiors and of those, 53% reported physical and verbal advances, gross sexual imposition, and rape. Twenty-four percent of women who reported harassment also reported sexual coercion or on-the-job blackmail. Women reported a variety of responses that ranged from confronting to ignoring the perpetrator and several physical and psychological health effects. Female farm workers should be made aware of sexual harassment policies and their right to work in safe environments. Perpetrators, contractors, and agricultural companies must be held accountable for their actions.
harassment, racial/ethnic differences, underserved populations, vulnerability