In 2019, LeadWomen annual conference, It’s NOT OK?! puts the spotlight on a deep-rooted problem in the workspace – harassment, bullying and discrimination! While this happens to both women and men, statistics show that the majority of these victims are women, and that many such incidences are not reported. Why? Because power dynamics, “blame the victim” culture and whistleblowers are seen as the problem.
Looking back on 2018, it was a year of progress for women as they stood together in the unprecedented #MeToo movement to expose sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. However, the backlash to the movement is detrimental to women’s careers as men are starting to avoid women in the workplace, hence limiting the opportunities for women to further their career growth.
Workplaces with cultures that inspire fear of speaking up are conducive to harassment and intimidation, in turn creating a toxic, unsafe workplace that can potentially hinder talent and business growth. Compliance with workplace-safety legislation and the Human Rights Code are not the only compelling reasons for creating harassment-free workplaces; there is also a wide body of evidence showing that psychologically healthy companies have better bottom lines and exert a positive influence on employees’ physical and mental health, motivation and productivity.
At our two-day conference with our champions of change and change makers, we focused on the perspective of the employer: namely the subtleties and nuances of workplace discrimination and harassment and how can an organisation support its employees to ensure a safe workplace. In partnership with our co-creators, we were able to engage in meaningful conversations around this deep-rooted issue.