Dissertation topics focused on the sexual harassment of women

The sexual harassment of women has long been an interest within academic literature, but has recently become an issue that mainstream media are more aware of. Here are fifteen dissertation topics that explore the psychological processes and experiences related to this area, as well as looking at this topic with a law and media focus.

1. Critically evaluate how Brexit will impact upon the law related to the sexual harassment of women in the UK

This dissertation aims to assess how the UK’s pending exit from the European Union has served to impact upon the current understanding of the law as it relates to the sexual abuse of women, along with whether this impact is likely to be for the better or worse in practice.

Key source: Pitt, G. (2017) Employment Law. London: 10th Edition, Sweet and Maxwell.

2. An analysis of how the current law related to the sexual harassment of women in the UK could be improved upon

This dissertation aims to evaluate how the current law related to the sexual abuse of women in the UK could be improved upon. To achieve this, it will be necessary to consider the current approach taken to the sexual abuse of women with a view to determining the flaws to have been recognised in this area.

Key source: Sargeant, M. (2015) Discrimination and the Law. London: 2nd Edition, Routledge.

3. How does the law related to the sexual harassment of women compare in the UK and the US and what could each legal system learn from the other?

This dissertation aims to evaluate the law related to the sexual harassment of women compares in the UK and the US to identify what each legal system could learn from the other. Principally, this means it will also be necessary to evaluate the positives and negatives associated with each legal systems approach to the sexual abuse of women.

Key source: Sargeant, M. (2015) Discrimination and the Law. London: 2nd Edition, Routledge.

4. How does the law related to the sexual harassment of women in the UK compare with the approach to dealing with other groups that may be subjected to harassment in UK society?

This dissertation aims to consider how the law related to the sexual harassment of women in the UK compares with the approach taken to dealing with others that may be subjected to harassment in UK society. It is also necessary to determine whether there is a uniform approach to dealing with harassment in the UK and, if not, whether the approach taken to dealing with the harassment of one group within society is more effective.

Key source: Smith, I. And Baker, A. (2015) Smith and Wood’s Employment Law. Oxford: 12th Edition, Oxford University Press.

5. A critical evaluation of whether the sexual harassment of women in the workplace is dealt with more effectively than the sexual harassment of women more generally in society in the UK

This dissertation aims to assess the sexual harassment of women in the workplace is dealt with more effectively than the sexual harassment of women more generally in society in the UK. Therefore, it is also necessary to determine whether there is a uniform approach to dealing with the harassment of women in the UK and, if not, whether the approach taken to dealing with the harassment of women in a particular context is more effective.

Key source: Smith, I. And Baker, A. (2015) Smith and Wood’s Employment Law. Oxford: 12th Edition, Oxford University Press.

6. Me too: Experiences of sexual harassment during social situations

Women frequently experience unwanted sexual advances at bars, parties, and nightclubs. These experience have in some quarters been normalised as ‘part of going out’ but more recent attitudinal shifts challenge this notion. This dissertation will explore the experiences and impacts of women who have been sexually harassed in social situations.

Key source: Graham, K., Bernards, S., Abbey, A., Dumas, T.M. and Wells, S., 2017. When women do not want it: Young female Bargoers’ experiences with and responses to sexual harassment in social drinking contexts. Violence against women, 23(12), pp.1419-1441.

7. Workplace sexual harassment of women – what are the issues?

Sexual harassment of women in the workplace – often by older men in positions of power – has long been a documented problem, and one that still persists. This dissertation will explore which harassment behaviours are commonly experienced in the workplace, and what the impacts are on the victim both psychologically and in terms of their career.

Key source: McLaughlin, H., Uggen, C. and Blackstone, A., 2017. The Economic and Career Effects of Sexual Harassment on Working Women. Gender & Society, 31(3), pp.333-358.

8. Experiences of sexual harassment on public transport

Sexual harassment on public transport is on the increase, and is often carried out with impunity – This dissertation would explore the reasons behind this behaviour, and examine the responses and experiences of those women subjected to this. A further aspect may explore the lack of helping behaviours displayed by those that witness these situations.

Reference: Ball, K.S. and Wesson, C.J., 2017. Perceptions of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport: exploring transport density and behaviour severity. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 19(3-4), pp.199-210.

9. What are the barriers and levers to reporting unwanted sexual advances?

Sexual harassment is in general very under-reported in relation to its prevalence. The #metoo movement has however demonstrated the power of reporting unwanted sexual advances. This dissertation will explore the issues surrounding the reporting of sexual harassment; identifying both barriers and levers into making the report.

Key source: Quick, J.C. and McFadyen, M., 2017. Sexual harassment: Have we made any progress?. Journal of occupational health psychology, 22(3), p.286.

10. On-line sexual harassment – how is social media used to make unwanted sexual advances?

Social media is more accessible and popular than ever before, but it has also enabled anti-social behaviour to proliferate online, including the making of unwanted sexual advances and online sexual harassment. This dissertation will explore in what form this harassment takes, what examine are the impacts of receiving such messages. Recommendations will be made as to what can be done to counter this behaviour.

Key source: Englander, E., Donnerstein, E., Kowalski, R., Lin, C.A. and Parti, K., 2017. Defining cyberbullying. Pediatrics, 140(Supplement 2), pp.S148-S151.

11. “Media Language in the Reporting of Historical Sexual Harassment Claims towards Women”

In light of a significant number of high-profile sexual harassment claims being made in the last decade, this dissertation seeks to identify the changing role of the media in how cases of sexual harassment towards women are reported. Looking at historic cases of abuse, as far back as the late Victorian period, the dissertation critically considers the language used by newspapers and makes comparisons with contemporary reports of similar cases. It is argued that contemporary reporting language is often sensationalised and overly emotive, which offers a distorted view of each case.

Key source: Johnson, S., and A. Ensslin (2007) Language in the Media: Representations, Identities, Ideologies. London: A. & C. Black.

12. Accuracy or Fallacy?: Sexual Harassment of Women in an Age of Digital Media

This dissertation critically considers the accuracy of media depictions of cases of sexual harassment. It is argued that modern reporting techniques significantly contribute to the hype surrounding such cases and can often misrepresent the facts. The dissertation offers case study examples of how false allegations of sexual harassment have been allowed to flourish into false cases, and how this process was facilitated and largely driven by digital media.

Key source: Powell, A., and N. Henry (2017) Sexual Violence in a Digital Age. London: Springer.

13. Giving Women a Voice: How Media can help Victims of Sexual Harassment come Forward

The connections between media hype and cases of sexual harassment towards women have been widely researched. However, the media can play a vital role in helping women to come forward with their experiences and thus help raise awareness of sexual harassment. This dissertation examines a range of studies which consider the role of the media in high-profile sexual harassment cases. It is argued that without the presence of media, victims of the same abuser might not have come forward with their experiences, and that reading others’ experiences in the news is thus a significant motivating factor.

Key source: Solotoff, L., and H.S. Kramer (2017) Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Work Place. New York: Law Journal Press.

14. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: the Exposing role of Media

Many acts of sexual abuse in the workplace are left unreported. This dissertation argues that the media has a role to play in exposing patterns of harassment in certain industries, with a particular focus on the construction and architecture industries which are largely male-dominated at managerial level and above. The work critically considers cases studies of sexual abuse which have been uncovered through documentary work and subsequently discussed on wider media platforms.

Key source: Saguy, A. (2003) What is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne. Berkeley: University of California Press.

15. What is Normal? Media as Educator and Policy Maker in Sexual Harassment towards Women

This dissertation identifies examples of sexual abuse when women have been afraid to speak out, particularly in a male-dominated workplace. It examines the role of the media in educating employees in the workplace about acceptable behaviour towards co-workers, and its contribution to implementing policy changes. The work focuses on Egypt where sexual abuse is a serious problem.

Key source: Sami, A., and M. Shata (2015) Media Advocacy and Policy Making in Egypt: Sexual Harassment as a Case Study. Cairo:American University in Cairo.

23/04/2018

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