Is there anywhere that a qualified woman can just perform her job without being subjected to unwanted sexual advances? Sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace. What is the state of gender equality, gender respect in our culture? The fact is that gender inequality still rules the day in almost every aspect of American culture.
Unfortunately, the barrage of recent accusations from almost every corner of Hollywood—involving a powerful successful major film producer, a chef, a photographer—seem to have opened a flood gate of horrendous harassment, assault and abuse.
More revelations are coming from other areas of the employment landscape. There have been more new reports about major media personalities like Bill O’Reilly and now Mark Halperin. Many women are coming forth, joining the chorus of those who have experienced various levels and types of unwanted advances from men with whom they work or from whom they are seeking employment.
Some of the sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace happened decades ago. While revelations, large and small, have been coming to public attention for a while, they seem not be a deterrent even when millions of dollars are paid in settlements in an effort to buy silence.
Among the most recent woman to come out is Rep. Jackie Speier who tells of being the victim of sexual harassment as a Congressional intern. She even speaks about a culture of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. Also, several female reporters are speaking out about their reluctance or the safety measures they took when interviewing senators who had a reputation of being perpetrators of unwanted sexual advances.
Sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace. So, where isn’t there sexual harassment, in some cases outright sexual abuse and rape, occurring against women? Many of them unsuspecting and defenseless. Where are we when it comes to gender equality in every aspect of our way of life in America?
The “Me Too” campaign to get women—from all walks of life from the famous to the unknown—to speak out about their experiences is raising hope that this may be the beginning of bringing about real change for women no matter in what industry they work. More evidence of the prevalence of gender disrespect and gender inequality.
But, will it? Or, will the outcry fade or fall on deaf ears once the revelations move off the headlines of the day? Where will there be justice and refuge for the thousands, no doubt millions, of women who are subjected to sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace?
A sea change will require addressing real issues of gender inequality, putting strong policies in place with rigorous enforcement, and executing swift justice when they are not.
It will take a sustained effort by women, partnering with caring men to bring it about. Maybe, at least the recent revelations about sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace will be a real beginning to address gender inequality.
Feature Photo: CNNMoney.com