#MeToo is silently changing the way women think
When Susan Fowler called out inappropriate behavior in the workplace, other businesses in the technology/start-up space began to speak up too. This movement quickly bled into other verticals such as the restaurant and movie industry. Interesting to point out that some industries have yet to have a shake-down, aka people to be held accountable for sexual harassment.
I have been talking to women of all ages including women in the Corporate world and they are starting to think differently. Most of the younger women are righteous, as they should be, and will not accept any form of harassment and are comfortable speaking out.
Women who are a bit deeper into their careers look at the landscape and are not sure that they want to participate in it. They are looking to play the game differently. They want their jobs to fit with the lifestyle they want to live. When law firms believe that throwing an event where they teach their female peers to play golf so that they conduct business the way men do, women are saying enough is enough. They want to practice law but not in environments where their male counterparts (and older females sometimes) just don’t get it. These old-school environments appear to be tone deaf to the wave of change. Women are asking themselves “why can’t we do deals when we are shopping for shoes, at an exercise class or on a hike?”
Years ago I spoke at an event filled with a room of female Corporate lawyers and bankers, they were frustrated by the cultures that they were working in. I asked them why they didn’t leave those workplaces and start their own? Change rarely happens inside.
Will there be a wave of boutique firms in the Corporate world run by women? Will women start leaving Corporate jobs to do or start something else where they can be in a culture that is more appealing to them?
It is time to change all Corporate cultures to be more in line with how people want to live? Women are done with cultures that don’t make them retain their sense of self. They are watching the #MeToo movement and although they might not be shouting from the rooftops they are thinking about different journeys in their careers.
No post about #metoo is complete without acknowledging its founder, Tarana Burke. Thanks for your patience with me :-)My sister in-law is a partner at PWC. From her description, they’re a long way from evolving. Being allowed to wear pants in the last 10 years is considered progress. She still feels self-conscious about having longer hair, and she’s a *partner*. Being in tech, it all sounds so foreign to me.
It should be foreign and it must change.
I don’t think that it’s unreasonable for an employer to dictate the dress of an employee (male or female) in certain environments and situations.That is not your point (you are just illustrating progress) but usually in business there is a general thinking to not tinker with something that ‘works’. Not take a chance or be the first one (look at what happened to Danny Meyer and tipping..)What’s funny though is when you see even men who have ‘more money than god’ dress up in a suit.I mean if I was Bill Gates and I was more comfortable not wearing a suit or a sports coat and instead just wearing a tshirt (what I wear everyday at least in the summer) that is what I like to think that I would do. I would figure that if I have billions that nobody will not deal with me because of that. But by the same token you could say that not wearing a suit (when one is expected, say in synagogue or church) is a sign of disrespect. I thought this when I saw Marc Zuckerberg in a hoodie doing his IPO roadshow. I thought ‘not respectful’. Not saying he had to go three piece. But not a hoodie.So maybe that is at least part of what an employer like PWC is thinking (doesn’t make it right I am just pointing out a theory). If a client shows up at the office (or a partner goes out onsite) PWC has an idea of what ‘showing respect’ means. We can all differ on what matters. But I think it’s clear that if a male partner was in a ‘wife beater’ that would not send the right message to clients. Once again that is not the same as ‘wearing pants’ I am just saying that in their mind they think ‘respect’ for a client is shown by a certain way of dress.If I am right then the answer is to (like with anything) sell any organizational change based on facts and benefits to the organization in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Last month my daughter related an incident at the company that she works for.  A male co-worker wanted her to release information (to a different client) that her client had said that the firm should not pass around to others. He was trying to browbeat, cajole and berate her into doing this (because she controlled it in some way). Sent her a nasty email, but mostly verbal in what to me sounded really really strong language and not appropriate. Oddly he claimed that she worked for him (was not the case and in fact he was only 1 year older) and that she had to listen to him. (Yes this really did happen). So she reported him to HR. From what she said they took it very seriously (acted that way at least). Now he is in the office and completely ignores her. I think he even challenged her something like ‘oh you are probably going to report this, right you are such a baby?’. All in all it was an entirely uncomfortable experience for her. Was not sexual assault but just male aggression. I am not sure what the company should even do in this case. So now she is working in a hostile environment.But this is not even what other women have to deal with I do realize that. While it was bad for her she isn’t living hand to mouth and has a family to fall back on as a ‘plan b’ to get her rent paid.I think those women attorneys are not likely to start their own firm. Obviously that would assume not only that clients would follow them but that they could float for the amount of time needed to build up the firm to near their law firm income. They would probably look at the downside to doing that and decide to just stay put. To much of a risk. Of all things a crisis management pr firm in NYC.
Yep. I am a huge fan of Gotham Gal, but I feel like women leaving means women will either have to be a position where they can afford to build a business or they will leave corporations for options that pay less. It seems like corporations’ unwillingness to change only penalizes…women.
#MeToo accomplished exactly what it set out to accomplish — letting people know how widespread and systemic sexual harassment and abuse is, both in and out of the workplace. I love the idea that it can ALSO create a change in corporate cultures which will make them more equal, open, flexible, collaborative and inviting. I believe this will be good for everyone.What I have also learned specifically from studying the #MeToo movement very deeply is that systemic sexism exists because a small percentage of men abused their way to power. In order to do so, they needed the complicity of non-abusive “good men” along the way—men who would stay silent or laugh at the “jokes” or believe that men must be the financial provider and financial success at all costs. Men who would participate in sexist cultures because that was the status quo and they were afraid it would hurt them financially if they did not participate. When you feel burden every day of having to put food on . the table for a growing family, why not keep your head down and look the other way in order to keep your job? Especially when you are *also* getting pressure to be seen an attractive secure sexual being, full of life and vitality and able to conquer small universes and be the hero even if it killed you. It’s difficult for men to talk about, even now, because they have to acknowledge their complicity in the system.Sexist roles are harmful to both men and women—and changing them will change everything. This is an important time for us as a society, on so many levels. Changing—even reinventing—corporate cultures is a tangible, do-able, positive step. Thanks for connecting those dots.
Change at this point is absolutely good for everyone!