An ongoing fascination of mine is the subject of how #MeToo, now in its second year, has been (or hasn’t been) transforming the public landscape that women have to navigate. For the most part, despite the public takedowns of some of the most prominent men in media, the on-the-ground situation for women in most sectors hasn’t really changed; by and large, companies aren’t adopting the kinds of policy changes needed to create real systems of accountability, and paranoia over imaginary “false accusations” is making some men more (misguidedly) apprehensive to even interact with their female employees or coworkers at all.Read More
One of the most interesting aspects of the #MeToo movement has been the ways it has – though more often hasn’t – translated into policy decisions. It’s been a very mixed bag in that regard, with people at most companies reporting that #MeToo has not resulted in concrete policy initiatives, and at those where it has, a mere decline in reports is the only metric of success. This is faulty for a lot of reasons, but it remains an ongoing problem: companies aren’t taking the initiative.Read More
Last July, I wrote a piece here at Forbes about how the underrepresentation of women in corporate boards is a big problem, a clear indication of both how women are systematically excluded from leadership positions and the end result of that process. The shutting-out of women from leadership is a problem built into the system; men are simply more likely to promote men. Which means that, all things being equal, a predominantly male leadership regime will tend to remain so. Even companies with a self-conscious commitment to gender equality still repeat the same old patterns. Inertia, simply put, is hard to overcome without a push from a stronger force. That’s basic physics.Read More
If there’s one theme to my writing here at Forbes, it’s the necessity of women to band together if we want to achieve equality in the workplace and beyond. The shameful display on Capitol Hill last month, as Brett Kavanaugh was rushed to confirmation despite Christine Blasey Ford’s credible accusations against him, only further underlines the fact that, all things being equal, men act to benefit themselves; as a rule, men benefit from the current power structures in place, and with no incentive to help dismantle them, will continue to prop them up and act in ways that benefit themselves. It’d be tragic if it weren’t commonplace, but it underscores a critical truth: if they won’t help us, we have to help ourselves. That fact applies to another topic I’m passionate about as well: mentorship.Read More
Let’s talk about biology.
As evidenced by last year’s infamous Google memo, there somehow still exist those who’ll defend sex and gender-based discrimination with claims of supposedly innate differences (like men being more logical, for instance) that make men more suited for a variety of jobs: “it’s simple biology,” they profess.Read More
If there are any fruits from the past year of #MeToo, the biggest is probably that women have been emboldened to talk about their experiences and fight back, something we are so often trained not to do from an early age. That’s what makes the whole movement so extraordinary; despite its hashtagged moniker, is that it’s taken a conversation that’s long been a part of social media and thrust it into the real world, bringing about real-life consequences for those involved.Read More
When I was working on this article, I was listening to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford regarding her allegations of sexual assault at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh, then still a nominee for the seat on the United States Supreme Court. It was a heartbreaking thing to witness, even from a distance, making crystal clear the reality in which women exist; the victim requested full-scale investigations and was met with only the most grudging support, and beyond the hearing itself, authorities worked hard to suppress the testimony and discredit the source in advance.Read More
Last weekend, #MeToo struck its biggest blow since Harvey Weinstein. Les Moonves – the architect of the CBS media empire and one of the most powerful men in the entertainment business period, overseeing the acquisition of media outlets across the world – was brought down amidst a flurry of assault and harassment accusations, forced to exit the conglomerate he ruled for over twenty years. It’s perhaps the highest-profile fall from grace since #MeToo came to the forefront last year, and in its wake, it finally seems as if no one is too powerful to continue dodging the consequences of their actions. After all, who, if not Les Moonves, could possibly be safe?Read More
In this crazy, politically volatile year, there’s been plenty to worry about. But amongst all the trouble, there’s a sign of hope: more women have won major party nominations in 2018 than ever before. The year and a half since Trump’s nomination has been one of growing political awareness and activity for women, starting with the massive Women’s March and threading all the way to #MeToo. More and more, the Trump era has been one of angry women realizing they have a voice, and stepping up to use it.Read More
On July 31, the news broke that FEMA’s HR chief, a man named Corey Coleman, had been engaging in sustained sexual harassment of female staffers for years, including allegedly hiring female employees specifically to serve as sexual partners for male colleagues. It’s a shocking story, but only in scale; this kind of culture of exploitation is not new in the American workplace, as almost any woman professional can attest. And while it’s usually not so blatant, there are still workplaces where the people responsible for keeping employees safe are the ones perpetuating the abuse.Read More
I’ve been writing for some time about the unique barriers women face when pursuing their careers. Corporate culture is often less accessible to women for very clear historical reasons: the modern workplace was built around the assumption of a nuclear family with a working father and a stay-at-home mom, and for as much as our society has changed, that model is still assumed in workplaces across America. The result is a culture that excludes all but a specific type of employee and isn’t actually good for anyone (in which the only way to excel is to work all hours because the employee presumably has a wife at home keeping the fire lit and the kids fed).Read More
Let’s talk about #MeToo.
It’s been a little under a year now since the hashtag started blowing up as Harvey Weinstein’s crimes rapidly came to light. But as much as the conversation has continued, we must remember the challenges and opposition we face; the White House has announced that a former Fox executive who helped shield Roger Ailes would be joining the administration, and just this week, President Trump publicly mocked the movement during a rally in Montana. All of which points to a simple question:
At this point, what has #MeToo actually accomplished beyond the outing and ousting of abusive figures like Weinstein and Kevin Spacey?Read More
Earlier this week, LinkedIn published a study demonstrating that, in the finance industry, women see a gender opportunity gap – and men don’t.
The study, done in partnership with CNBC and particular to one economic sector, demonstrates how much of the business world operates: through a myopia which prevents people from seeing (and working to fix) problems that don’t affect them. The numbers are telling; women only make up 17% of leadership in the industry, and the overwhelmingly male population is more likely to believe gender discrimination is receding; men are far more likely than women to believe promotions are given at equal rates for men and women, by a margin of 74% to 47%; and 75% percent of men, as opposed to 40% of women, believe men and women are paid the same for the same job.Read More
You can’t have it all. Not at the same time, anyway.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true. The work involved in getting ahead, especially for people starting their own businesses, is so immense and so consuming that all other concerns tend to fall by the wayside. Add to that the sad reality that mothers are much less likely to be hired or promoted, and you’re stuck with a simple truth: if you want to get ahead, work just has to come first. Certainly in the early years, at least until you get to a certain level. Like legendary golfer Gary Player once said, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
That doesn’t mean there’s one way to do it, or a single path to success, or even to say that you have to focus on your career if you’d rather do something else; but getting ahead in your professional life, as a woman, means recognizing some hard realities about what that means, why things are the way they are, and how you can navigate this often hostile world.Read More
#MeToo feels more like a revelation than a revolution. For all the progress this national conversation has made, its effects are still relatively detached from most women’s experiences. In fact, according to a recent study conducted jointly by Fairy Godboss, The Female Quotient, and Progyny, a full three-quarters of women surveyed report that #MeToo hasn’t meaningfully impacted their workplaces; women are still facing a long uphill battle toward equality at work.
At present, it’s clear that company policies and how they’re enforced have a long way to go; real change from the top is going to be slow moving. The truth is that change happens on the ground via real-life conversations and encounters. One way we as women can start making our professional lives at least a little bit better is to start having difficult conversations with our partners (especially if that partner is a man) to create the foundations of professional success.Read More
The biggest obstacle to starting your own business is money. You need it. You probably don’t have it. And it’s a challenge at every level, whether you’re a mom-and-pop dog biscuit bakery or a high-concept tech startup that’s going to change the way we think about inflating our tires. Investment capital is absolutely essential; it pays for your facilities, your employees’ paychecks, your supplies, your shipping costs – but for entrepreneurs who happen to be women, it’s harder to get. Vastly harder; from 2011 to 2013, female CEOs got only 3% of venture capital funding. That’s $1.5 billion out of $50.8 billion. In 2017? It was 2%. In other words, women are being systematically shut out of entrepreneurism, with the capital needed to create fast-growth startups being withheld at every level.Read More
Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation and advocate for women's equality, will be joining forces with the American Heart Association to encourage and empower young women and girls interested in careers in science and technology with STEM Goes Red. The day-long event, to be held at the New York Academy of Sciences on April 20, will include an exciting panel discussion, hands-on speed mentoring, and a full-day of interactive activities allowing high school girls to explore STEM outside of the classroom.Read More