Wow. This IS News! Makes me wonder who was being polled in prior surveys.
Certainly not many women who worked in any kind of a corporate or factory setting. This makes sense as telephone surveys were usually done during the day, when the only people who were home were either retired, not-yet-working, or non-working wives. This has obviously changed.
But harassment doesn’t only happen in the workplace. Women merely walking down the street have, for centuries, been literal objects of a wide spectrum of harassments, from seemingly non-threatening (yet disrobing) stares, to whistles, to groping, to rape. While not yet public, research is being conducted on the impacts sexual harassment has on countries’ economic performance/GDP and my gut tells me the results will be profound.
It must stop. Full stop.
There is the common, and fortunately fading, social excuse: “Oh, they are just being boys/men.” While they are expressing very basic testosterone tendencies, if we, as a society, are to progress to something better, something more equal and balanced, something sustainable and ethical, this kind of treatment cannot be tolerated, especially in the corridors of corporate and governmental power. It must stop. Full stop.
From a shareholder’s perspective, mitigating these “controversy” or “headline” risks is a no-brainer. Over $200 million in settlements have been paid out or alleged in the U.S. last year alone (before Cosby, Weinstein, Price, et. al.) and these costs don’t factor in the substantial top and bottom line hits, and potential impacts on discount rates and costs of capital, resultant of talent leaving, needing to be hired, becoming disengaged, and justly feeling they don’t belong in that environment. Not to mention entire firms being sold for a song.
These mental shifts usually require a series of “A Ha!” moments. The question becomes: how to trigger them? From our experiences, there are a few guiding principles that can prime these enlightenments:
- Data: You must gently overpower your audience with data: team performance, portfolio performance, financial performance. Whatever kind of performance data is important to them. (And we’d be happy to share ours)
- Self-interests: You must address, in very blatant terms, how women’s accretive powers not only won’t threaten men’s self-interests––namely, income/net worth/equity value, title/career progression, and job security––they actually support them. You may also want to observe research that shows the more men share in the daily routine, the better their sex life becomes over time, not to mention improvements in the entire family’s performance and happiness
- Commitment: The case, from behind closed doors to workshops, must be made by members of whatever the dominant group may be, and getting public C-Suite commitment to run committees, show up at events, become an internal and external ally, etc. is absolutely essential
- Processes & Perceptions: Systems that allow employees to report violations of company values or abuses of whatever sort must be established, monitored, explained, and marketed with the utmost attention to detail and empathy. Governance systems must be put into place that protect identities, and dignities, of all involved. Perceptions must be changed from being a “whistleblower” to a champion of the company’s brand identity, upholder of its values, and supporter of its stock price
- The Role of Men: Last, men MUST take a stand. They must trust their instincts, and call out other men, sometimes in public depending on the situation. Letting stuff slide only perpetuates the norm. And simply put, the norm must change.
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Originally Published on Huffington Post