Sexual harassment at work is real and it’s common.
What we think:
It’s time to end harassment at work, at school and on the streets.
The hashtag was everywhere a few weeks ago — women on Facebook and Twitter, acknowledging that yes, they too had experienced sexual harassment at work, on the street and in school.
Moms, daughters, aunts, sisters — each with their own #MeToo. And while the hashtag isn’t new (it originated about a decade ago), neither is the problem. What is new: the willingness to speak out about inappropriate behavior experienced nearly everywhere women go.
But it’s going to take more than a hashtag to create the change we need in the business environment. We need to continue the conversation about women at work, appropriate behavior in offices and about the lack of diversity on boards and in top offices.
So, in this issue of the Colorado Springs Business Journal, we’re looking at the problem. We’re talking about how to combat sexual harassment at work; we’re talking about the lack of women leaders in the highest business offices. According to the Women’s Leadership Foundation, 11 percent of board seats within publicly traded companies in Colorado are occupied by women, compared to 19 percent nationally.
Worse, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says one in four women nationwide is harassed at work — but that many never file a complaint.
The Colorado Springs Business Journal’s sister publication, The Colorado Springs Independent, is also talking about sexual harassment and assault. Read this week’s Indy for firsthand accounts of street harassment downtown, one woman’s account of harassment at work and efforts to keep the conversation in the front of everyone’s mind to truly change the culture.
Though most of the big stories in the media deal with celebrities, it’s a good time to have this discussion in Colorado Springs.
Also in this issue, we celebrate 14 Women of Influence — leaders who are selfless, passionate, determined and successful. They’ve worked to make southern Colorado a better place, and they’ve succeeded — in the business world, in nonprofits and in education. The 14 women we’ve chosen — from dozens of nominations — have made a firm commitment to the community, and they’ve made a huge difference in the regional marketplace.
Their success creates a path for women who follow them — and we’re honored to recognize them in the magazine and with the Women of Influence luncheon.
But even as women gain ground at work, there’s a dearth of diversity in the C-suites of business offices and boardrooms. There’s a lack of transparency about the unique issues women deal with at work. And it’s time to bring everyone into the discussion.
And that is where a few good men can make all the difference. In fact, progress cannot be made on the subject of sexual harassment or the glass ceiling without all voices being heard.
So let’s start a conversation by looking at the issues — and figuring out together how to solve them.