Time Magazine revealed its 2017 Person of the Year earlier today! I had not planned to share this announcement with you, however, after learning that The Silence Breakers garnered this prestigious award and honor, it became difficult for me to let this day pass without making at least one statement.
For starters, The Silence Breakers is a group of countless women and a few men behind the #MeToo movement that spontaneously combusted after allegations of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein surfaced back in early October 2017. Victims came from behind the curtains and others rose above the radar to make statements against sexual harassment and assault.
According to the editor-in-chief of Time Magazine, Edqard Felsenthal, “This is the fastest-moving social change we’ve seen in decades, and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women, and some men, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. The image you see partially on the cover is of a woman we talked to, a hospital worker in the middle of the country who shared her story with us and some others but doesn’t feel like she can come forward without threatening her livelihood.” [Source: USA Today]
Note: In the photo above, a red circle has been drawn around the arm of a woman whose face was purposely obscured for the cover photo. The Time’s editor points out that she is symbolic of all those women and men who have yet to come forward and may be struggling to do so for fear of repercussions.
In an earlier post, Training for Sexual Harassment, Diversity and Project Management Requirements Has Less Than Stellar Outcomes! Why?, I shared the following point of view: The Harvey Weinstein scandal appears to have created a sea change in the way that men and women view sexual harassment in the U.S. If the public’s view of the topic has changed, it is appropriate that training on the topic should also change. One can only hope that the knowledge and learnings on this issue can be transferred to other subjects of concern, especially those that are heavily embedded in cultural norms and have been resistance to change for decades if not centuries.
The #MeToo movement empowered women and men to not only speak up but to also speak out about sexual harassment incidences that they had or were currently experiencing. And they did in a very powerful way. One of the truths surrounding sexual harassment is that it is not a respecter of persons or employment sectors. People who were complete strangers, reached out to tell their stories through various avenues of social media. While the #MeToo movement began in the United States, it quickly enlisted support from women around the world.
One victim shared how sexual harassment has been treated in the past: “If they couldn’t stop us from talking, then they would stop others from listening.” And while the #MeToo movement didn’t eliminate sexual harassment in the United States, it dealt a very heavy blow to its perpetrators. Those who are tasked to receive future complaints or reports of sexual harassment will be listening in a very different way.
Megyn Kelly, journalist and host of Megyn Kelly Today, also shared: “I always thought maybe things would change for my daughter, I didn’t think things would change for me.”
The above information provides a number of answers as to why women have not made much progress in some sectors of the work place including business and STEM.