From #TimesUp to #MeToo, women are finding the courage to speak up and create an opportunity for change. Read on as our life coach columnist offers insight.
And so it continues: The growing list of men in high positions that are being accused of Sexual Harassment. Powerful men at the top of high profile corporations, media companies and government are having the light shown on their behavior. Finally, women feel that they have the courage to come forward and share the pain and shame that they have experienced.
Still, there are people that blame this on the women. Just the other day, someone asked me why women would not call men out on this behavior before it progressed to this level of abuse. And why would they come forward with allegations after so much time has passed. Why not just let it go? Or how it’s not safe or fair for men in the workplace today because they have to monitor every word and action.
It sure is easy to judge others when you haven’t been through the experience.
What I believe is important in this whole story is the fact that women are finally coming forward and having the courage to have a voice. Finally, this is an opportunity for our culture to CHANGE.
A friend shared that a couple of women were having a conversation the other day. They were discussing the current culture and the recent sexual harassment cases. One thing led to another, and they brought up how different minority groups were being treated. One woman remembered the “good old days” when no one would become offended when different minority groups were called names and bullied. It just was sparring and fun. She thinks the problem today is everyone is too sensitive.
Is everyone just too sensitive? I believe that she has weaved a rationalization into her memory that is just not rooted in reality. These minority groups put up with these attacks because they didn’t have a choice.
Women didn’t report abuse because they knew that theywould lose their job. People put up with bullying and harassment because they knew that they had no power in the situation. They just lived with it and hoped that it would pass. Anyone that remembers it differently is just plain naive.
Anyone that experienced it first-hand knows the truth.
So how do you make organizations safe and comfortable for all employees? Well, the first step is to take a look at your culture. Do your stated values match the actual behavior demonstrated in your workplace? Does your leadership team understand that they are role models for the rest of the organization? Are people consistently held accountable for their actions?
Does the culture allow employees to have a voice?
These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed.