“It’s Wrong because It Could Be My Sister, Wife, or Mother”: Workplace Sexual Harassment among Men and Women Farmworkers in USA and Mexico

K. Y. Prado, María Elena Rivera Heredia, Lizeth Guadalupe Martínez Servín, Karla Guzmán, S. A. McCurdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


These findings from focus groups explore attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences relevant to workplace sexual harassment (WSH) among men and women farmworkers in California, USA, and Michoacán, Mexico. Focus groups are stratified by country and gender, with two in California (10 men and 10 women) and two in Michoacán (8 men and 5 women). This community-based participatory research includes Community Advisory Boards (CABs) consisting of farmworkers, academicians, non-profit organizations, attorneys, industry personnel, and community leaders who took part in strategy and the development of materials. Themes are related to the experience of, responses to, and farmworkers’ recommendations for prevention of WSH. Although men and women faced WSH, women’s experiences were more severe and frequent. Participants condemned WSH as contrary to principles of caballerosidad, cortesía, respeto–cultural values promoting respect for others and protection for vulnerable persons. Participants endorsed the notion that women are responsible for WSH. Although farmworkers try to resolve WSH on their own with help from co-workers, family, and leadership, they face significant barriers that silence victims and allow WSH to persist. All farmworkers recommended that management set a good example and enforce consequences for offenders. Implications include directly appealing to cultural values (emphasizing respect), incorporating bystander education, and countering the myth that women are responsible for WSH in workplace training. WSH is a recognized occupational hazard that affects all directly or indirectly exposed workers. We emphasize that employers are ultimately responsible for their workers’ safety, supported by a governmental regulatory role. Enforcement of existing policy is needed in California, whereas awareness and policy development is needed in Michoacán. These findings will support the researchers, agricultural community, educators, and organizations working to prevent WSH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • agricultural worker
  • community-based participatory research
  • occupational health
  • sexual harassment
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of '“It’s Wrong because It Could Be My Sister, Wife, or Mother”: Workplace Sexual Harassment among Men and Women Farmworkers in USA and Mexico'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this