I work in a small, competitive male dominated firm London, England. Of the around 35 staff members, there are only 4 women of which I am one.
There is no 'sisterhood'.... in fact these women play into the guys' behaviour, e.g. sticking their asses in the air when at the water cooler, being openly suggestive... really seedy behaviour to the point that I don't know who is at fault - the women for encouraging it, the men for playing into it, or me for being uptight and sensitive!
Now the guys are starting on me, even though I am sitting in the corner minding my business. Things like smelling my hair, or trying to make another woman think I'm better looking than her or the reverse, stupid games really.
There is no point in getting HR involved because this is the industry reality, I work in finance. Much of this type of behaviour is justified as 'banter' and I will come across as the frigid, envious one!
How can I deal with this assertively and with class?
EDIT: I think contributors may be right when they say it could be the culture of the firm, not the industry. I have been looking to get into more reputable firms, and the fact that you think this is out the norm behaviour, confirms this.
Reading all the comments, becoming more and more apparent that this clearly wrong, and I have been foolish to accept it for the past year. I had no idea that other firms were not like this.