The insidious economic impact of sexual harassment

    By: Kelsey Vuillemot on Dec 11, 2017

    Nilofer Merchant writes, "Up to 85% of women report that they have been sexually harassed at work, according to a 2016 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. What happens next is often not captured in numbers, but in the fine-print details of recent media reports. Whether the industry is media, entertainment, politics, technology, or something else, these women say things like: “I quit.” Or, “I left that place.” Or “maybe I shouldn’t be in [this industry]”. Some women scaled back on their ambitions, while others left companies or their chosen industry altogether.

    Reading these many stories, over the last few months, made me reflect on my own exits. After a senior law enforcement official chased me around a hotel room while we both served on a statewide board for community colleges, I left the education field. I went into the tech industry, where I saw firsthand that male executives preferred to promote the ideas and innovations proposed by the female colleagues they happened to be having sex with. (And, moreover, having sex with in the office – I saw that firsthand, too, though I wish I could unsee it). I left that industry, too, becoming an independent consultant and advisor. Then, after hearing too many young women’s stories of venture capitalists who asked for sex in return for funding, I stepped back from participating in the startup ecosystem, the driving economy of Silicon Valley. I had never thought of sexual harassment as affecting my career arc, and yet I can now see how its friction surely influenced it.

    While each woman’s harassment story is different in particulars, together the vignettes add up."

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    Released: December 11, 2017, 11:50 am
    Keywords: NAWL News


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