This morning, I have some words about men. I have long-held Charlie Rose as one of my inspirations in journalism. My eyes teared up hearing the accusations yesterday, and I’m so upset for the women whose lives and careers were harmed by his actions.
I know a lot of my female friends are losing heart that there are no good men out there in any field. While I’m outraged by how pervasive this issue is among men I never thought would behave this way, I also want to say that I’m not losing faith in an entire gender. There are a lot of fantastic men in my life who are dear friends. They care deeply about people and the world at large. They work hard and they’re kind, funny, and supportive. I just want to make sure that as a society we are looking at people as individuals and not painting with a broad brush, especially with an issue as important as this one.
Good guys, I know that you have often felt like you will never win. I never believed that. Good guys, in the end, will always win. And to my female friends, I hear you, I see you, and I support you. We are in this together, and my hope is that this painful upheaval now will lead to a more just and fair world for everyone.
I love you. Have a good Tuesday.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
And here are some other things that are on my mind as I watch my social media feeds fill up with this very sad realization that we have been harmed for far too long:
– As someone who has had to call people out for poor behavior (publicly, loudly, and repeatedly), we must have each other’s backs. It is an extremely sad fact that I have experienced even more bullying from other women than I have from men. Even though bullying is not assault, it is certainly harassment. And ladies, we just cannot tolerate this anymore, collectively or individually. Women who treat people badly, whether those people are male or female, must also be called on the carpet and stopped.
– This is not a male versus female problem. This is a human problem. I am incredibly fortunate that the men in my life are upstanding, respectful, and kind. (As one friend recently pointed out, a**holes don’t last long in my world.) Ladies, if someone mistreats you, promptly get rid of him. And if there are reasons you can’t get rid of him, then get help immediately from friends, family members, support groups, co-workers, or public services. This kind of man is not good enough for you. Either he treats you well, or he gets his walking papers. Period. I have seen far too many of my amazing female friends waste their time and energy in relationships with men who do not deserve them. It’s far better to not be in a relationship than to be in one with a man who isn’t good for you. I have learned this the hard way.
– Do not suffer in silence. Intimidation is one of the prime ways that sexual harassment and assault is perpetuated, and perpetrators count on the fact that you won’t say something to someone. Stand up, speak out, and get support. If you don’t know who to call, then call me. I’ll help. I’ll always help.
This article is a good primer on the many struggles that women face in the workplace, with one glaring omission: 50% of all workplace bullying is between a female boss and a female employee. I have been on the ugly receiving end of that scenario several times. It’s awful. And it has to stop.
Women, we must support and encourage one another just as much as we seek to right the horrible wrongs of sexual harassment. A healthy workplace will not be created if we just focus on gender disparity in all its hideous forms. For every O’Reilly, there are many more acts of micro-aggression that over time do just as much damage. This is not an issue of men vs. women. This is a human issue, and everyone needs to be a part of solving it. O’Reilly and others like him got away with his behavior for so long because too many people, men and women, looked the other way because they weren’t directly impacted.
The workplace too often lacks empathy, compassion, and true collaboration. That plays out in wage and promotion disparity, diverse representation at every level of a company, in products and product marketing, and in daily team dynamics. To solve problems in the workplace and in the world, we need to stand side-by-side, men and women, roll up our sleeves, and solve problems together.
In-fighting and aggression in any form doesn’t solve anything; it makes everything worse for everyone—employees, employers, companies, shareholders, and customers. When we go to work tomorrow, let’s not think about how we’ll get even or get our fair share. Let’s take action to make the environment better for all people. Let’s raise the tide.
Thank you to all of the men, and especially my male friends, who supported the women’s marches all over the world. I’m grateful for all of the efforts you made to support the marches in a myriad of ways—for being at the marches, for taking care of kids so the women in your life could march, and for every text and social media message of support. It is all appreciated more than you know. I’m lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for being on this journey, for courageously standing up for women (especially in situations when men are saying and doing things that are disrespectful), and for raising your voices with ours. The world needs more of you.