How Business Has Changed And How You Can Leverage It In A #MeToo Era
What Wall Street avoids, and what other companies should embrace.
The #MeToo movement has brought forth a number of things.
It’s allowed women a platform to stand on and be heard on a larger scale than ever before.
But it’s also left many men on the sidelines lost and confused as to how they should be acting. Not to mention where the line actually is.
It’s gotten to the point that many men have taken up a variety of controversial strategies in handling women. And some of them aren’t good.
Take the Pence Effect, stemming from workers who see women these days as “unknown risks” to the organization. This strategy involves outright avoiding women at all costs if you’re alone. This is the strategy that Vice President Mike Pence has taken up on. The only exception to this rule is his wife.
Because of this rather poor strategy, it’s left many women with the short end of the stick with some industries and business going as far as practicing gender segregation.
And it’s affecting careers for many women across the board.
This also impacts men especially too. If men begin avoiding women all the time out of sheer fear, they move away from a potential sexual harassment complaint and can land themselves with a sex discrimination complaint.
What this movement is slowly evolving into is a deal that doesn’t help either party involved.
Women will be stuck and avoided despite this platform elevating them.
And men will be stuck being paranoid constantly to the point that we’ll all become sexist.
So what should we do?
Well, I won’t be able to speak for the women because last I checked I am a man, however, I can speak for what men should do in this situation. And I think women can agree with what I’ll be saying:
Hire and elevate women
It’s as simple as that.
Stop “channelling Pence” for one second and give it some thought.
Because a lot of peoples actions and overall embrace of the Pence effect stems mainly from paranoia and fear. Fear that the rumour mill will get running or fear that someone will take what they mean the wrong way.
It Goes Back To What Feminism Is
Feminism was around since the late 1880s, but it soon started to get traction around WW1. Women were oppressed and it was at that time where they took up the banner of feminism.
While our views of what feminism is differ greatly, feminism at its core was founded to fulfil three key purposes:
The first was to have the right to own property.
The second was to have full rights over their body. This would help them in being legally protected of sexual violence.
The third was to end discrimination in the workplace, denial of promotions or certain positions and to be allowed and paid for maternity leave.
Some of these issues have been solved while others still need to be addressed.
But when you see it from this particular angle everything starts to make sense.
Feminism was eventually viewed as political correctness, but at the same time provided a way of life for women. With each wave of feminism, activists took up the mantle to use feminism to push various agendas.
The first wave wanted those keys to be fulfilled.
The second wave wanted to be treated as equal to men.
The third wave wanted to be treated as equals to men regardless of colour.
But when we look at the third wave feminism values, they aren’t that far off for how I can imagine most women feel when they use the #MeToo movement.
They want to be treated equally regardless of where they came from.
And when you put that into practice, when we actually embrace this, things will start to connect.
The second wave of feminism also echoed some interesting things as well. The most notable was that they believed that change in our cultural attitudes will change as soon as both men and women allow it to do so.
Women have clearly done that as they have been fighting in the world’s longest revolution since the late 1880s.
Now it’s men's turn.
And it makes sense to take this leap.
On a business level, this makes sense too.
There are a number of articles citing the benefits of hiring women and putting them in powerful positions. The fact that women are emotional individuals does have its perks.
While men can say it leads to irrational and sensitive women, thus making them unfit in the business world, I’d argue that those are more perks than anything else.
After all, isn’t a good quality leader someone who can practice empathy?
Aren’t leaders people who can bring a team together?
Can motivate them to perform better while working with them side by side?
Men can certainly do that, but I can imagine women can do a better job if we actually let them and guide them along.
In the end, letting women in can provide a huge benefit to a company.
And as for that paranoia, I’d not be concerned about it. The fact women are more sensitive and have greater emotional intelligence means that most are a lot faster in picking up cues and body language.
Sure you can think of this as a reason to be cautious about what you say. Or if you sit down and talk to them — like a real person should — and set boundaries and understanding their position, you can then be aware of when you’re stepping over the line or acting like a decent person.
And that way everyone wins.