The last few months have been watershed moments with sexual harassment issues being exposed in the entertainment and media industries as well as in government leadership. At the end of 2017, it seemed that almost daily a new story was being told by a victim coming forward with a horrific story and a powerful man being exposed and falling from grace (not to mention in many cases fired). There is so much to unpack on this issue, but we were curious about the perspective of some of our conscious business leaders. So, we reached out to Daphne Dolan, CEO of City Staffing, and invited her to write a guest blog on the topic. City Staffing is a staffing agency in the Chicago area, whose hiring and placement demographic tends to be majority female. City Staffing has been a member of Conscious Capitalism Chicago since it’s inception, and Daphne sits on our Advisory Board
When asked to write this blog I had to think twice, do I really know what I am being asked? Sexual harassment as a topic in my mind is so wide ranging and so far-reaching it encompasses everything from the obvious – ogling and groping – to rampant and flagrant abuses of power demonstrated by the insidious and sinister activities of movie moguls (and public personalities in all arenas) that are now making the headlines on a daily basis. It is an issue of dominance and power as well as gender stereotypes and societal norms; it is so deeply embedded in our values and our ethics it is like pulling a Band-aid off a festering wound. But the Band-aid is finally off, and we are able to gaze and critique a gender infrastructure that has been destructive for too long.
The headlines have led to public outcry and a movement of people to coalesce around two mantras: ‘I Knew’ and ‘Me Too’.
What has at once surprised me most and yet echoed what we already knew is that these behaviors were in the open, observed and considered, and that no one did anything to stop the rot. Or, at least no one who ‘mattered’ or would be listened to. There is so much media coverage of people trying to ‘out’ the situation, but to no avail – alas those who speak out are often sidelined, subdued, quieted or labeled as heretics, crazy people or trouble makers – a typical whistleblower analogy can be drawn.
Whistleblowing or ‘telling tales’ is something we are programmed to avoid from childhood – ‘no one likes a rat’. It is really no wonder people don’t come forward, as victims have long been blamed and disregarded for their own accounts of abuse.
Our friends, our sisters, our daughters and our colleagues are all suffering, but have now found a voice, and we must grab this opportunity to give momentum to the movement. We must add the ‘me toos’ to the ‘I knews’ and blow that whistle with all our might!
Now that people are talking, we must challenge our companies, our government, and our public leaders to set a better example and stamp out behaviors that will not be tolerated.
As I come down from the podium I ask, how can I effect change? I am the Managing Director of City Staffing, a female-owned and run staffing agency, that has consciousness at its heart. Our most important stakeholders are our people: they have to come first. We have to protect them, and we have to be there for them.
What can you do?