Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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Friday, October 27, 2017
Guest editorial: Weinstein’s fading world Ventura Published 11:15 a.m. PT Oct. 23, 2017 636432917187767257-AP17283858700110.jpg (Photo: AP FILE PHOTO) CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN COMMENT EMAIL MORE From Joanne Lipman, USA TODAY: In my first job, as a 22-year-old newspaper reporter, I went to interview a businessman. He ushered me into his office. He locked the door. Then he stripped to his underwear. This was in the 1980s, at a time when women didn’t call behavior like his “sexual harassment.” We called it … going to work. So I did what other women in my place would have done. I interviewed him in his underwear. Then I got out as fast as I could. Back at the office, I told my editor what had happened. His response: laughter. He thought it was hilarious. I shrugged it off too. This was the price of working in a man’s world. So unremarkable was the event that I didn’t bother mentioning it to my roommate or my mom. More than 30 years later, it’s astonishing that in many ways,
From Joanne Lipman, USA TODAY:
In my first job, as a 22-year-old newspaper reporter, I went to interview a businessman. He ushered me into his office. He locked the door. Then he stripped to his underwear.
This was in the 1980s, at a time when women didn't call behavior like his "sexual harassment." We called it … going to work. So I did what other women in my place would have done. I interviewed him in his underwear. Then I got out as fast as I could.
Back at the office, I told my editor what had happened. His response: laughter. He thought it was hilarious.
I shrugged it off too. This was the price of working in a man's world. So unremarkable was the event that I didn't bother mentioning it to my roommate or my mom.
More than 30 years later, it's astonishing that in many ways, so little has changed. Thousands of women are recounting similar experiences of sexual harassment - and far worse - in the wake of the accusations by multiple women against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Social media feeds are flooded with horrific #MeToo tales of abuse.
Yet I'm struck just as strongly by something else: the response from men. If one thing has changed in these past three decades, it is this: Men aren't laughing. Nor are they brushing off the issue as if it's somebody else's problem, as they have so often when sex scandals have erupted that ensnared other high-profile men, from Bill Cosby to Presidents Clinton and Trump.
Instead, more men are stepping forward, owning the fact that solving sexual harassment is their issue too. We're seeing some serious soul-searching going on.
In the wake of the Weinstein accusations, Harvard Business Review ran a piece headlined, "Lots of men are gender-equality allies in private. Why Not in Public?" Variety weighed in with "Men must step up to change the Hollywood culture that enabled Harvey Weinstein," while Esquire gave advice on "What to do if you see a female co-worker being harassed." In USA TODAY, coverage included "Are you disrespecting women at work? How to be an ally."
For women, the sight of men starting to tackle these issues is a huge relief. For perhaps the first time, this doesn't feel like a "female" problem, something women have to put up with and try to solve on their own. It feels instead like an all-of-us issue, a problem that we need to solve together.
It's also the continuation of a cultural shift that has been slowly building momentum over the past few years. More men have started speaking up not only about harassment, but also about joining with women to close the gender gap.
The United Nations began its HeforShe initiative, which asks men to support female equality, in 2014. The non-profit Lean In organization created a #LeanInTogether campaign aimed at bringing in men. A student effort from the Fort Foundation, a non-profit that encourages women to pursue business education, began inviting in male students and faculty with its Men as Allies Initiative.
Harvard Business School started a Manbassadors club for men who support women's equality, a concept that has spread to multiple other schools. Millennial men, ranging in age from 18 to their early 30s, are more likely than those in other generations to favor an egalitarian relationship between husbands and wives.
Individual men are re-examining their own behavior. Television producer Glen Mazzara, known for "The Walking Dead" among other hits, noticed that women in television writers' rooms were being interrupted during pitch presentations and talked over by the men in the room. He created a new rule: No interruptions, for anyone.
Wharton professor Adam Grant, co-author with Sheryl Sandberg of the best-seller Option B, told me he intervenes when he hears offensive remarks about women. Sometimes, asking a quiet question - "What did you mean by that?" - is enough to jar men into realizing what they've said. In more extreme cases, Grant takes the offender aside to let him know that others are noticing his behavior, and that it is hurting his reputation.
These men are speaking out not just because it's right, but because it's smart. Equitable workplaces are more successful. Multiple studies have found that adding women to all-male teams leads to greater financial success. Firms with the most female board members outperform those with the least by almost every financial measure.
Yet women remain vastly underrepresented in boardrooms, in politics, in executive suites from Hollywood to Silicon Valley to Wall Street, and everywhere in between. Women alone can't transform a workplace culture that was created by and for men, which has allowed harassment to fester for all these years. We need men to join us.
In journalism, we talk a lot about "tipping points" and "defining moments." Very rarely do these moments truly last. As Irin Carmon pointed out recently in The Washington Post, some of the men who boast about being "allies" - including Weinstein, who publicly supported several women's initiatives - turn out to be anything but.
Yet perhaps this time will be different. Women aren't shouting into a vacuum anymore. The call for men to step up is coming from the men themselves. It's reaching across generations and across the political spectrum.
There's a growing realization that this isn't a "female problem," and that solving it isn't just good for women. It's good for all of us.
Joanne Lipman is editor in chief of USA TODAY and the author of "That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (And Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together," to be published by HarperCollins in February. Her views are separate from those of the USA TODAY Editorial Board.
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