stirring up the conversation on women in wine


Sexual Harassment in the Viticultural Crews

Dr. Malcolm Hobbs, who spoke during our first panel on Navigating the Male Exclusivity Culture in the wine industry, has shared the initial results from his team’s sexual harassment/job satisfaction study that the University of California Cooperative Extension carried out this year. He shared them with us, thinking that this community may be interested in the findings – which we are, of course! The key findings are below, and you can click here to read the full report.


  1. These figures are low compared to other studies of California farmworkers. In a 2018 study of farmworkers in Lodi, 44% of women reported gender harassment, 40% unwanted sexual attention, and 7% sexual coercion. Lower incidence in Napa is encouraging but sexual harassment is clearly still a barrier for female workers.

  2. Harassed women were younger than non-harassed women (2/3 of harassed women were under 40 years old) and 8/9 women reporting the more severe types of harassment were seasonal workers.

  3. Harassed women had lower job satisfaction and higher turnover intentions; as did men working in crews where harassment occurred. It was concluded that harassment negatively affects the retention of both male and female workers.

  4. The proportion of women, or the presence of a woman’s family members, on a crew was not related to occurrence of sexual harassment. Restructuring crews to increase the number of women or to group family members together may, therefore, not prevent harassment.

  5. Hostile sexist attitudes (especially in men) were associated with the presence of sexual harassment in a crew. The theory is that these attitudes contribute to a climate of tolerance for harassment. Such attitudes may be difficult to change, perhaps indicated by the fact that:

  6. Sexual harassment awareness training was not related to a reduction in harassment. Training has a poor research record of effectiveness in reducing harassment. However, it should still be encouraged as it makes women more likely to speak out when harassed and makes explicit which behaviors will not be tolerated. In some cases, company policy and the manner in which managers handle incidences of harassment have been shown to be more pivotal in reducing/discouraging harassment than awareness training.

Thanks to Ladies in Wine for the photo.

Sarah BrayComment