December 12, 2017
Another day. Another sexual harassment story.
Unfortunately, we’re beginning to live in a world where sexual harassment is no longer surprising. In 2016, nearly one third of the 91,503 charges filed with filed with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved some allegation of harassment. #MeToo has flooded social media where users share their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault, and to de-stigmatize speaking out. This can’t be ignored.
But sadly, it’s not just sexual harassment that is keeping women from breaking the glass ceiling.
It has been found that men interrupt women speaking in the work place. And women interrupt other women as well. While this may not qualify as harassment, it still adds to keeping women down. In a 2014 study, male participants interrupted an average of 2.1 times over the course of a three-minute conversation with a woman; if the conversation was between two men, the number dropped to 1.8. (The study also found that when women interrupted, they were much more likely to interrupt other women rather than men.)
Additionally, a study by researchers at Princeton and Brigham Young Universities found males talk as much as 75% of the time in meetings, compared to women’s 25%.
“I can’t say I looked forward to those meetings so much. The moment I opened my mouth, I felt I was walking a perilous tightrope between being interrupted by my male colleagues, or getting shot down before I’d made my point. So usually I kept quiet, leaving the ideas suggested by the boys.” – Tanith Carey, 2005
Although these stats prove a lot, the proof is in the workplace. Just take one day to watch out for men interrupting women, men talking more than women or men acting inappropriate towards women. If you don’t see it, that is great. But if you do, sit back, reflect, and see how you can improve your behavior to cultivate a more inviting workplace.
If we are not listening carefully to our own staff, we will never reach our potential.
And for women, this movement towards di-stigmatizing is here and behind you. If you feel unappreciated at work, speak up. It may sound intimidating but it’s probable that men you work with or for have no idea their behavior makes you feel that way.
Overall, men need to be better listeners. And business leaders need to focus on creating an environment that is safe, productive, honest, stimulating and dedicated to the fundamental principles of human decency. True success will come thereafter.
This article is the beginning of a series in which Princeton Partners employees will continue to discuss and reflect on this timely and important topic. Through this series, we hope to build awareness of mistreatment of women in the workplace. We would like to encourage businesses across New Jersey to take actionable steps towards applying anti-harassment training in the workplace. We encourage you to join the conversation on our social media pages.
We know sexual harassment is a hard thing to talk about. We’d like to make it easier by starting the conversation in our community.
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