Time for American VCs to catch up to Canadian VCs when it comes to #MeToo
Together with Qualtrics, we have released the findings of our new survey about the actions and attitudes of Canadian Board of Directors in the wake of the #MeToo movement. We conducted this survey in May and June 2018 as a follow up to the one we had done earlier this year in the United States. With 100+ respondents who were either board members, venture capitalists, or high-level executives, we have found that Canadians are more proactive in handling sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace compared to Americans.
In our previous survey conducted in March 2017, nearly two-thirds of American respondents who sit on a board (64%) report having personally experienced a “MeToo” moment in their careers. Whereas, 41% of Canadian respondents report that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment, assault, or inappropriate behavior in their career. As progressive in comparison as this may seem, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in Canadian workplaces. Less than 10% of these sexual harassment reports come to light in Canadian offices and about half of the respondents say that they fear potential unintended consequences or backlash resulting from the #MeToo movement.
While things may seem a little meek for boards in both geographies with more than half (66%) of Canadian survey respondents have experienced gender discrimination, our survey has shown that Canadian VCs are more committed than American VCs to addressing sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace in light of the #MeToo movement. The survey found that over half of the respondents (53%) reported that they have discussed reevaluating policies that deal with sexual harassment and/or sexism in the workplace compared to 23% of respondents that did in the U.S. survey. Not only do American VCs have to catch up in reevaluating policies but they also have to catch up in terms of following up with action. 80% of Canadian VCs have reported that they advise smaller companies that do not have HR departments, compared to 68% of American VCs.
Overall, Canadian venture capitalists are more proactive in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace with 66% of VC respondents reporting that they have been working on a plan of action in response to the #MeToo movement. Most importantly, 70% of Canadian VC respondents have taken initiative to discuss appropriate behavior/sexism with the companies that they have invested in. It’s encouraging to see VCs taking a more active role in addressing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, that does not mean that we should stop encouraging boards to #BeABetterBoard. One of the best ways to fight sexual harassment in the workplace is to ensure equal and diverse representation in the boardroom. When half of the workforce is made up of women, then our boards should reflect that, too. Here at theBoardlist, we are committed to making that a reality.
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