Sexism and What You Can Do About It

Intersts: Life's Work
Mary at HERdacity

Sexism and What You Can Do About It

Stopping Sexism in the Workplace

With SXSW upon us, I’m happy to see HERdacity’s support of women come full circle. In June 2017, an inspired HERdacity community member, Annie Hardy, published a blog about sexual harassment in the work place. In her piece, Arianna Huffington's Uncomfortable Laugh, Hardy discusses the discomfort women feel (yes, even women as accomplished as Ms. Huffington) when they confront sexism head-on in the office. In this case, Huffington’s response to a sexist colleague on the board of Uber was an uncomfortable laugh.

Fight or Flight? 

As Hardy notes, Huffington’s awkward laugh is “a laugh we’ve all had to use” to deal with sexist situations at work while we process and determine our response. This observation struck me as a sad, but true, statement on situations I’ve experienced. We as women know when we’ve been disparaged. We puzzle through our possible reactions in the moment, our mind rapidly considering the options we have:

  • Should I say something or ignore it? 
  • Is it worth the risk to call the person out?  
  • Will it have an impact on my working relationships with him or others in the room?  
  • Will it negatively impact my career if I say something?  
  • Will it be worse for my career if I don’t say something?  
  • What are the best next steps?

Since publishing this article last June, Hardy has worked with others to develop an approach to confronting sexism in the workplace. She has joined forces with Molly Eyerman, President of Vivo Growth Partners, Erika Gable, Executive Director of Women’s Small Business Accelerator, and Sam Baber, Consultant at the Talent Experience Agency, to present a SXSW panel on March 10, 2018 entitled "See it, Hear it, Stop it: Fighting Sexism at Work."

Sexism and What You Can Do About It  

To support the panel’s efforts, Hardy reached back out to HERdacity to develop a free, downloadable toolkit. Stopping Sexism in the Workplace is a toolkit based on the collaboration between Hardy, Eyerman, and the HERdacity team and will be made available on HERdacity’s website on March 9, 2018. The toolkit serves as a take-away for companies and individuals interested in confronting occupational harassment in the workplace. 

Specifically, the toolkit aims to facilitate discussions around occupational sexism and to broaden awareness through small group discussions or HR-led compulsory trainings. The document will serve as a starting point for a group discussion or conversation around occupational harassment. The toolkit defines occupational harassment, identifies how it can be recognized in the workplace, and provides actionable next steps. 

If you think your organization may be interested in continuing this type of a dialog, click the link to download it below.

Stopping Sexism in the Workplace

Don’t miss HERdacity’s three-part series, HER Guide to SXSW, where we curate women-centric panels, like See It, Hear it, Stop it. The HER Guide to SXSW brings you a women-focused view you won’t want to miss. Part II of the HER Guide offers get-aways for women at SXSW when the crowds become too overwhelming. We feature alternative places to work out, coffee houses off the beaten trail, and one-of-a-kind shopping. Part III of the series offers freebie SWSW events for women that don’t require a badge.

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