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Rather than figuring out how to treat women respectfully, many men seem to have developed a ‘woman phobia’ after the rise of #metoo. This cannot be the way to go forward!
The #MeToo movement has been a raging topic online and offline for the past many months. A lot of skeletons have tumbled out of the cupboard and many more are coming to light almost daily.
However, this has also brought about a new set of problems for women. A new problem called the ‘Touch Me Not’ syndrome seems to be evolving, where men want to keep themselves ‘safe’ at the cost of women. This is not only alarming but also scary as we might be losing hard earned ground in terms of gender equality. There are a few inherent discriminations which have hindered women’s growth over the years. A few of them are:
Inherent discrimination: Women have to battle out inherent discrimination when it comes to moving up the career ladder. An ambitious women is liked less by men and women in comparison to an ambitious man. Words like ‘ambitious’, and ‘competitive’ often have negative connotations when associated with a woman. These discriminations are deep-seeded and many a times play out unconsciously!
Inferiority mindset: Culturally, the world over, a woman is seen as nurturing while men are seen as leaders and providers. It automatically puts men before women and women grow up with an inferiority mindset. A woman is told to act ‘ladylike’ and mellow. A woman believes that she shouldn’t be talking about her achievements.
Issues like these have made it difficult for women to break the glass ceiling, push for higher goals and win in style. Very few women who overcome these issues have managed to secure senior level leadership positions.
But, as the #MeToo movement kicked in and raged on, the men seem to have found a way to keep themselves safe at the cost of women. A poor understanding of what constitutes harassment has led to ‘women phobia’ in men. Men who didn’t think twice earlier about going out for coffee and discussing work with a woman, now suddenly want a witness when interacting with women.
The ‘Pence Effect’: Men in leadership levels or those in high pressure jobs seem to be taking American Vice President Mike Pence’s advice rather seriously. After Mike Pence famously announced that he refuses to dine alone with a woman other than his wife, it has become a common excuse to avoid women at all costs.
According to a December article in Bloomberg, a new set of unwritten laws have come into force at Wall Street. Hiring a woman is seen as an unknown risk.
After battling issues like sexual discrimination, self-doubt and societal pressure, an ambitious woman trying to move up the ladder has to now worry about #MeToo phobia as well.
It is a known fact that as you go higher up the corporate ladder, there are fewer women. It is important to have a mentor who will groom you to the next level and champion you as you grow. It is hard to find a woman leader every time and if men decide to follow this #MeToo phobia route, not many women will make it in the coming generation as well for lack of mentors and believers.
It is important to coach both the genders about sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. It is important that both the genders realize they bring value to the table and that needs to be tapped into. If there are enough open discussions about topics like these, instead of assuming things we might see much stronger and lasting solutions.
Create comprehensive rules for inclusive workplaces and rotational mentoring sessions to ensure that the true meaning of ‘how women want to be treated’ is ingrained in the organization.
Reading more about women and their role in society, their role as leaders and change-makers too will help broaden the horizon for men.
These are my thoughts based on what I read and saw about this matter. #MeToo is a positive movement but it needs to go beyond words and naming and shaming in public. We need to do now – otherwise, the next set of talented women would be struggling with the same problems that were prevalent 20 years ago.
First published at author’s blog
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A freelance writer and social media marketer by profession, I love weaving stories. Passionate about
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