What Happens After the #MeToo Movement? Some Perspectives on the Way Ahead
Where Does the #MeToo Movement Go from Here?
Its been a hectic few years for the corporates and other entities in the United States and elsewhere what with the #MeToo movement creating a storm with many women coming forward to detail and allege gender based discrimination at the workplace.
Indeed, #MeToo kicked up such a storm that the dust is still yet to settle with many women continuing to come forward with fresh charges.
If not anything else, what this reveals is the problem of gender discrimination and outright harassment as well as other serious instances of misconduct has not gone away or for that matter persisting even now.
Of course, it is another matter that powerful men are finding it difficult to brush aside allegations made by their victims or the corporates not being able to sweep the matters under the carpet and continue with business as usual.
On the other hand, we are also not waking up every day to find our Twitter and Facebook feeds full of angry women alleging cases of gender harassment.
While this is as much a commentary on the nature of our social media driven world, it is also a testament that maybe the impetus provided by the #MeToo movement is somehow losing steam.
What Did the #MeToo Movement Achieve and What Comes After That?
Therefore, one must ask what after #MeToo and whether it has done anything to stem the rot of overt and covert gender harassment at the workplace.
A key positive outcome of the movement has been to empower women to speak out and indeed, draw strength and solace from the fact that they are not alone in their travails.
At the same time, it is also the fact that there has to be some sort of push to keep the spirit alive and this is where we feel that it is time for more women in senior and executive positions to carry forward the legacy of #MeToo.
While we are not suggesting that they are victims or otherwise, the larger point is about how corporates and other entities can make long lasting changes in their organisations to ensure that women can work in a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.
Indeed, in the same manner in which the Civil Rights Movement and the Suffrage Movement resulted in lasting changes to the way racial minorities and women were and are treated in the United States, a similar deep seated approach is needed to ensure that the struggles of the #MeToo movement result in fundamental changes in the way women are treated in the workplace.
The #MeToo Movement Has Made Cover-ups That Much More Difficult
Having said that, one must also question the role that corporates and other entities play when such allegations come to the fore.
Often, the accent is on blaming the victim and trying to cover up the incidents of gender harassment.
Indeed, if not anything, the #MeToo movement should be a wakeup call to all stakeholders that there are consequences of hushing up gender harassment and discrimination.
Often, the cover ups happen because corporates are afraid of the denting of their image and their share prices when cases of sexual harassment are made public.
At least now, they must take action to both prevent gender harassment and apportion blame and take action against the guilty.
This is where the role of the corporate leadership and the women in senior positions that we alluded to earlier comes into focus.
These individuals must realise that with the awakening of the spirit of the #MeToo movement, they can no longer bully the victims into silence or try to buy their silence and acquiescence to the cases of harassment.
Some Measures and Tangible Gains that are Visible as a Result of #MeToo
On the other hand, there are some Green Shoots that are visible as far as gender harassment is concerned.
Some measures that corporates have taken in response include setting up of committees where instances of harassment and discrimination can be reported either anonymously or in public view and in addition, formulating a Code of Conduct for all employees that strictly prohibits harassment and discrimination of any kind.
While more research is needed on the topic of the tangible gains of the #MeToo movement, intangible gains do include more awareness of the penalties of harassment and an overall push to make workplaces more harmonious and fulfilling for women.
Moreover, there is a certain feeling that it is better to handle gender harassment cases in the organisations themselves rather than being dragged into the limelight through a #MeToo inspired viral Facebook posts and Twitter Tweets.
Indeed, if not anything else, there is a realisation that cover ups can only lead to more adverse reactions once the allegations are made public.
Of course, there is also some resistance to covert harassment that many corporates are either unwilling or unable to contain and control, and this is where the focus of the next #MeToo movement should perhaps be.
Walking the Talk
Last, some might argue that it is impossible to achieve a workplace completely free of harassment.
To that, we would like to remind of the famous Zero Tolerance policy that many corporates proudly proclaim and hence, our stand is that it is time for corporates to walk the Talk.
Moreover, even from a cold logic viewpoint of hits to reputation and revenues, we argue that it is better to be safe than sorry and not be dragged into expensive lawsuits or viral social media driven #MeToo kind of movements.
To conclude, what we need is a new generation of women to carry forward the legacy of the #MeToo movement and to keep the Flame Burning.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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