With the #MeToo trend sweeping the nation in 2017, and the national conversation that has resulted, last year was an interesting one for women in the workplace (and the men who work with them). A lot has already been said, written, and read, so I won’t rehash the obvious.
Stephanie and I have had a conversation about every ripple in this thread because we have a professional interest in workplace issues for women. We have an entire program designed for women in the workplace that address many of the issues brought to the forefront with the #MeToo conversation. And then, well, we’re women in the workplace, and we’ve been there and seen it too. There’s a problem. There’s been a problem. So, how do we move through it? As women, and with our male allies, and given the layered and overlapping issues of inclusivity and diversity?
We don’t have the answers. It’ll likely get ugly in a few ways, for a while, before any of us feels anything different or better. But what does positive change look like within a corporate environment… what steps might be involved?
Investing in sexual harassment training is sure to be popular, but this is a societal and cultural challenge, so the effectiveness of a dry and legally oriented training is limited. We all know and love those badly acted, awkward 5-minute videos we watch during orientation that clearly haven’t been updated since the 1980s, and then the documentation to acknowledge that we have, in fact, watched that video.
We need more than that. We need the opportunity and space to have a lot of uncomfortable conversations, and work through them together. Some of these conversations should happen at the one-on-one micro-level.
But many of these conversations need to happen often, formally, and in larger groups so that companies can truly shift their culture.
- What do we want to stand for as an organization? How will we show that to the world?
- How will we show up for each other?
- What does it mean for us to truly feel and create an empowering organization for all employees?
This weird moment in time is likely to pass and the headlines will change. But the toxicity that those realities have brought to light will remain if organizations don’t proactively address their culture, instead of just reacting. And if they don’t, then people who are disempowered will find somewhere else to be, because that’s becoming more and more of an option now.
What is the best thing that your organization is doing to empower all and be more inclusive?
-- Kara Davidson, co founder, wolf & heron