Mad as hell.
Reading the weekend social media feeds, and dozens of women I know publicly declaring their own personal experiences around gender violence and harassment is gut-wrenching. Another wave of women speaking up and against harassment and saying that enough is enough.
But this time, we are not just asking for the megaphone. We are asking men for their accountability. We are asking for support, leadership and action. We are asking that they help us to dismantle the systems that protect the perpetrators — those who feel that anyone belongs to them. We are asking them to take a hard look at their own behaviours. And, we are asking them to show how they are going to work to ensure that we can all feel safer in our world.
One of the most stunning parts of the Weinstein story is the number of men and women who were brought in to cover up, enable and allow this kind of behaviour to take place for decades. This was orchestrated, calculated and clearly known around the office and the broader industry.
Every organization has a moral obligation now to take a look at its own practices. Every senior leader needs to ask about their culture and not just whether it is doing enough, but what more it can do to change.
Some questions to start with:
- Do you have protocols that allow men and women to anonymously provide feedback and report instances of sexual misconduct?
- Are women in the minority (particularly in decision-making) in your environment and your industry, and what do they have to do to succeed?
- How are other underrepresented groups doing in your environment?
- Are there practices in place that ensure that men and women are protected from harassment — open-door policies, transparency in decisions?
- Is it clear that there isn’t an informal “boys club” where decisions about opportunities or hiring take place?
- Are men given the chance to actively lean into their home and personal lives?
- Are women given the professional opportunities for advancement and development?
- Does your leadership team have gender balance?
We are asking men to commit or re-commit to the White Ribbon Pledge. Twenty-five years in, it is as important and relevant as ever: “Never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women”.
Let’s see how you can step forward to help us end this now: firstname.lastname@example.org