On this last week of Women’s History Month, I’d like to bring awareness to men and women in power to show you how you can help elevate women in the workplace and education.

“You should lose some weight.”
“You need to stop losing weight.”
“You should dress like her.”
“I like that dress on you.”
“I always thought we would get together if I got a divorce.”
“I wonder what you’re like in bed.”

All these quotes were said in the last decade to me or a woman I was mentoring (not at the same company). They were said by bosses, mentors, and professors – men who felt they had the power and authority to FREELY comment on a woman’s body, dress, and sexual ability. With the exception of the last one, they were said OPENLY in rooms where others were present and could overhear.

If you thought the age of sexism was over, know that this is just a sampling of quotes from 2 people. How much of this goes on? How are women expected to do their best working and learning in toxic environments, using their energy to deflect these types of comments?

How can you be an ally? DON’T STAY SILENT.

If you are at the same level as the offender
• “That’s sexist.”
• “That’s not funny.”
• “The impression you’re portraying is not ok.”

These are all good ways to let the offender know their behavior is not acceptable.

A deeper conversation can sound like, “Hey – I don’t think so-and-so appreciates that. I wouldn’t want my wife/daughter/sister/teammate to be subject to these comments.”

If you are at the same level as the person being offended
Ask them privately how you can support them. A buddy system with someone of the other sex may help prevent future comments.

It can be tough to be an ally. Whether you speak up or not, relationships are damaged. You must decide which side you’re on.

For more tips on how you can respond, check out:

How Men Can Call Out Sexist Behavior
How To Address Subtle, ‘Friendly’ Sexism At Work

Calling In Vs. Calling Out: How to Talk About Inclusion

Check out our post by Wendy Fong about how Culture And Inclusion Are Not Trends!

#sexualharassment #sexism #misogyny #toxicculture #benevolentsexism #womenshistorymonth #womenintheworkplace #education