Turns out, yes. It is real. And it’s a silent epidemic.
And sadly it exists in many daily lives of all workers worldwide, where many victims are threatened and silenced.
Bigger global companies are responsible for abiding by the laws in each respective country.
Unfortunately internal legal and management, accustomed to defending the company at all costs, have turned a blind eye to discrimination, bullying, and sexism and end up protecting bad behavior.
When the companies are backed by massive legal teams that err towards defending the company itself, many victims are silenced, ignored, and the victimization continues.
We know it is happening in the US, but what about abroad?
Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that China-based companies Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba have all previously been using blatant sexism in order to attract men only (or men preferred) to join their companies. Although China’s Labor and Advertising Laws prohibit gender discrimination, many seem to believe that there are deep discriminatory views that have been a source of tradition. It is sad to say that questioning women’s capabilities are still stigmatic.
Sophie Richardson, HRW’s Director notes to Engadget, “instead of harassing and jailing women’s rights activists, the Chinese government should engage them as allies in combating gender discrimination in the job market — and beyond.” She also notes in TheDrum that, “sexist job ads (in China) pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies. These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China.”
Footage of Tencent’s WeChat wild sexist staff party was circulated through out the world wide web. The six-second video showed female employees on their knees, attempting to use their mouths to unscrew the caps off bottles gripped between male coworkers thighs, per Mashable. The article also notes that none of the Tencent’s C-suite executives are women.
Twitch’s CEO Emmett Shear has had to address bullying and harassment in a recent article in the New York Times on his platform as well. He noted that, “We support people coming forward, commend their bravery in doing so, and know there are many others who have not,” he continued. “The gaming industry is not unlike others that have had to reckon with systemic sexism, racism, and abuse that rewards certain people and disadvantages –even harms — others. The status quo needs to change.”
Sexist cultures continue to exist when management continues to allow it. The unfortunate part is that most men and women that are sexually harassed stay silent either to keep their jobs.
Most sexist micro aggressions are not reported via email, Slack or more, and fall by the waist side. The sexist employees that commit these crimes continue to remain in the organization, and the harassment continues. The disease can only be cured by removing those individuals in the organization that are committing the harassment, and when issues are not formally reported they fall to the waist side.
What is the solution? Many end up finding new jobs and leave the organization, others stay in the organization for years facing the discrimination and normalizing it.
The only solution is vetting the culture of your company to figure out what is healthy and what is not. It is not an exact science but Human Resources should be proactively reaching out to individuals within the company and finding out how their employees are really doing.
Have you encountered sexism + harassment in your workplace?
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