Vol. 15 No. 1 (2022): Winter of Variants

Structural Inequalities and Intersectionality are the Root Causes of Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment : What does this mean for the Healthcare Workplace?

Priyanka Nageswaran
Imperial College London, UK
Mahua Chakrabarti
Lanarkshire NHS Trust, Scotland, UK
Nagina Khan
University of Touro Nevada, USA
Neena Modi
Imperial College London, UK
Vipin Zamvar
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Scotland, UK
Indranil Chakravorty
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK

Published 2022-01-23


  • sexual harassment,
  • Gender discrimination,
  • BAME,
  • Workplace dignity

How to Cite

Nageswaran, P., Chakrabarti, M., Khan, N., Modi, N., Zamvar, V., & Chakravorty, I. (2022). Structural Inequalities and Intersectionality are the Root Causes of Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment : What does this mean for the Healthcare Workplace?. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion, 15(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.38192/15.1.4


Sexual harassment and gender discrimination overlap affecting people (including children) of all genders, however data shows an overwhelmingly high prevalence of violence or harassment experienced by women in areas of conflict, professional life and in their homes as well as in the healthcare workplace. It is pervasive, persistent and all too common.

                  Workplace sexual harassment an discrimination although illegal, is particularly is more common in women who are young, early in their careers, in temporary employment, from under-represented or marginalised groups based on ethnicity, immigrant status, gender non-conformity or disability.   Majority of perpetrators are men, who are older and enjoy the privilege of disproportionate power and in certain toxic male-dominated healthcare environments.

                  Two recent stories of sexual harassment in healthcare prompted many women to follow suit and share similar stories referring to flashbacks, post-traumatic stress, damage to careers, pressure to leave their job, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, brought about by their experiences. Yet there are examples of women as role models breaking down historical barriers such as Hilary and Chandi in their polar adventures.

                  Tackling such structural inequality requires remedies that go beyond incremental approaches focussed on individuals and include transformation of the organisational and societal climate by interventions, affirmative policies and courageous, compassionate leadership. Workplace sexual harassment and discrimination is unacceptable, not inevitable and needs to be eradicated.


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