How to end sex discrimination in one easy step

February 15th, 2011 by Julian Egelstaff Leave a reply »

Make it a men’s issues instead of a women’s issue.

I read about yet another workplace sexual harassment lawsuit today. These stories are a regular occurrence in the news. You can change the names and workplaces, and get basically the same story every time.

Multiple choice “Make Your Own Sexual Harassment Story” generator:

Woman gets job, woman’s male colleagues make inappropriate comments a) [behind her back] b) [in front of her]. Woman is denied a) [raises] b) [perks] c) [promotions] d) [all of the above]. Colleagues make a) [explicit] b) [implied] comments about taking maternity and parental leave, and how it will negatively affect your career. Woman a) [gets fired] b) [leaves for another job] and sues the former employer.

The sad fact is, that men are just as victimized by this behaviour as women are. Grown up men who work in these offices are likely to be offended by the same juvenile antics, just as much as women. Maybe they don’t say anything because they’re afraid of not getting the raise or promotion. Nonetheless, they are entitled to a workplace that is free from this kind of office politics. How many of these men have kids? How many did not take a parental leave after their kids were born, because it would be bad for their careers, even if they wanted to?

These men are suffering too, probably without realizing it. They are putting up with a workplace that could be better for everyone, themselves included. Many must be too chicken to say anything, lest they suffer the same fate as their female counterparts. If you think taking leave is such a hardship on one’s career, why assume that the mother of your children should be stuck with that? Shouldn’t you share? Or better yet, shouldn’t you stand up in your own workplace for the rights you have under the law to share part of that magical first year with your kids?!

These “women’s issues” need to be seen as “family issues,” that affect men equally. Only then will we have achieved any kind of lasting solution. Until that day, women will continue to be victims and men will continue to be silent accomplices, and continue to miss out on the benefits and rights they are just as much entitled to.


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