In an age where the media has been consumed with stories of sexual harassment, it’s clear that men (specifically in more senior roles) need to do better. But…how do you cultivate a workplace that promotes and celebrates women as well as making it a safe and inclusive space for them?
You would be hard pressed to find a woman who didn’t have a story or personal account of experiencing workplace harassment. On many occasions, it’s a complex issue that mixes gender, socio-economic and political aspects but one thing is clear- There are simple steps men can take to do better. Here are some simple steps both men and women can do more to lean in.
- Don’t interrupt women in meetings. When you see a woman being interrupted, say something about it and bring the conversation back. Women’s voices get drowned out so quickly in senior level meetings where they are often the minority.
- Accountability speaks a lot louder than sensitivity training. New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof recently interviewed Sheryl Sandberg who talked about the importance of firing men who sexually harass, as well as holding accountable the men and women that stay complicit. “People need to be afraid not just of doing these things, but also of not doing anything when someone around them does it,”
- If you are asked to speak at a conference on panel and you see that it’s all men, speak up. There’s value in diversity.
- When a woman is being assertive in the workplace, don’t use words like “crazy” or “emotional”. Not only is it insulting, but it also cultivates a space for toxic masculinity.
- Stop making assumptions about a women’s intellectual abilities, desires or capabilities based on whether she’s wearing a crop top or sweat pants. Women, like men, should be able to wear whatever they want and not get harassed.
- It’s 2017, pay women the same amount you pay men.
We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. By encouraging men to empathize more with women’s experiences and take concrete steps to fix the problem, we are taking steps for the betterment for ourselves and our peers, and maybe our daughters and our daughters’ daughters will be able work in a safe inclusive space that champions diversity.