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Sheryl Sandberg On Increasing Sexual Assault At Workplaces: “It’s The Power”

  • IWB Post
  •  December 5, 2017

The social activist Kamla Bhasin in an episode of Satyamev Jayate had rightly put that the same women who are inferior as daughter-in-laws suddenly becomes powerful and feels superior as a mother-in-law. Feels extremely true, right?

On December 3rd, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg put up a post talking about increasing number of sexual assault cases at workplaces. She spoke about the sense of power that has been giving the wrongdoers the courage. The significantly lesser number of women in power might be one of the core reasons for it.

She in her Facebook post said, “Like almost every woman – and some men – I know, I have experienced sexual harassment in the form of unwanted sexual advances in the course of doing my job. I didn’t work for any of these men. But in every single one of these situations, they had more power than I did. That’s not a coincidence. It’s why they felt free to cross that line.”

She has been “lucky” to have not experienced such incidents and she might have cracked the reason for it, too. She in her post writes, “As I’ve become more senior and gained more power, these moments have occurred less and less frequently. But they still happen every so often, even in my current job – but only ever with men who, in that moment, feel that they have more power than I do. That’s why I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the power, stupid.”

“Too many workplaces lack clear policies about how to handle accusations of sexual harassment. There’s no question that this can be complicated and challenging to address. Some investigations come down to one person’s word against another’s. There are consensual workplace relationships that make others uncomfortable or turn ugly or harassment that doesn’t involve sex but does involve sexism. And because companies do not have access to tools like criminal forensics or search warrants, they depend on law enforcement to do its part – which doesn’t always happen,” Sheryl highlights the lack of a concrete system for such situations at workplaces.

She then continues talking about six ways that can be adopted by workplaces to fight these situations. “Every workplace should start with clear principles, then institute policies to support them. First, develop workplace training that sets the standard for respectful behavior at work, so people understand right from the start what’s expected of them. Second, treat all claims – and the people who voice them – with seriousness, urgency, and respect. Third, create an investigation process that protects employees from stigma or retaliation. Fourth, follow a process that is fairly and consistently applied in every case, both for victims and those accused. Fifth, take swift and decisive action when wrongdoing has occurred. And sixth, make it clear that all employees have a role to play in keeping workplaces safe – and that enablers and failed gatekeepers are complicit when they stay silent or look the other way.”

Read the entire post here:

Sheryl Sandberg

The 1992 presidential race was once summed up in a pointed phrase: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Today, as headlines are dominated by stories about sexual harassment and sexual assault at work, a…

With women in powerful positions speaking about sexual harassment faced at their respective fields, gives hope of everybody also working towards it.

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