Susanna Schrobsdorff writes, "Here’s a number that might come as a surprise: According to a Pew Research survey released in August, most American men—56%—think sexism is over and done with. More than half believe that 'the obstacles that once made it harder for women than men to get ahead are now largely gone.' As in disappeared. Past tense. Ancient history.
Of course, most women—63%—disagree. So might anyone who has been paying attention to the details emerging from the lawsuits and allegations from women currently and formerly at the Fox News network. One plaintiff described an environment run like a 'sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult' under former Fox chairman Roger Ailes, who resigned in July amid accusations of sexual harassment and suggestions that he fostered an atmosphere where women were judged by looks and pliability and where men weren’t judged much at all.
The Fox News suits and settlements will drag on, and we’ll hear more stories that make us want to skip ahead 100 years to some point where this primitive behavior is considered … primitive. But the network’s scandal is hardly the worst story of the summer when it comes to women in the workplace. Consider the National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday as 'America’s best idea' while dealing with a sexual-misconduct crisis. Women reported being groped and propositioned by male National Park Service employees on trips into the parks, and if they rejected the advances, they were subject to verbal abuse and other kinds of bullying. The practice is apparently so widespread that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell admitted in July on NPR that the allegations that have surfaced are likely only the 'tip of the iceberg.' 'For many of us who’ve been in the workplace for a long time, we’ve experienced some form of sexual harassment,' she said, 'hazing rights of passage that have made us really uncomfortable.'
It’s no better at the local firehouse. This summer a number of fire departments are coping with allegations that the few women in their ranks are routinely bullied and harassed. After a young Virginia firefighter hanged herself earlier this year, the Fairfax County fire department began looking into lewd and misogynistic messages posted by her colleagues on an online forum. Other female firefighters across the country have reported that they’ve had their shampoo bottles filled with urine, semen put on their bunks and holes cut in their clothing. As a result of such behavior, fire departments have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to women in the past five years, but changing the firehouse culture remains a challenge."