Gender relations in the workplace: What Americans find acceptable

Asking a co-worker out on a date is generally seen as unacceptable to Americans, but most people in the U.S. think it's OK to compliment a co-worker's appearance, according to a survey from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, part of King's College London.

The survey polled 20,204 adults in 27 countries, including more than 1,000 participants from the U.S., on their perceptions of acceptable workplace behavior. The survey was conducted between Jan. 24 and Feb. 7. 

Here are five takeaways from the report:

1. Less than a third of people from the U.S. (28 percent) find it acceptable to ask colleagues out on a date — and even less (6 percent) find it acceptable to press for a date after a colleague says no. Survey respondents from the U.S. were among the least likely to find this acceptable.

2. Just 10 percent of respondents from the U.S. find stories or jokes that are sexual in nature appropriate in the workplace. However, men are more likely (15 percent) than women (6 percent) to think so.

3. Most people in the U.S. would compliment a colleague on their appearance, but are more likely to if that colleague is of the same gender (82 percent) versus a different gender (73 percent).

4. Most respondents from the U.S. (65 percent) would confront a man harassing a woman in public. Men are more likely than women to intervene (72 percent versus 58 percent).

5. When it comes to telling people off for sexist comments, U.S. respondents are generally more vocal than their international counterparts. American women were more likely than men to tell off a family member or friend for a sexist comment (80 percent of women versus 68 percent of men), but men were more likely than women to tell off a senior colleague (55 percent of men versus 50 percent of women). Men and women were about equally likely to tell off a junior colleague (66 percent and 64 percent, respectively).

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