I have taken a few days off from posting as I needed some time and perspective to collect my thoughts. I have been debating back and forth whether or not to publish this post…but here goes…
Last week I was leading a meeting at work. There were two men in the meeting and myself (as a side note: I was the most senior in position in the room). Towards the end of our meeting one of the men made a sexual and degrading joke about me. I was surprised and taken a back by his comment; but felt more frustrated and angry that when I called him out about about the situation, he shushed me and dismissed the event entirely as if it wasn’t a big deal.
Thankfully this is the first time that I have been in a situation like this but I was left feeling vulnerable and disappointed by his actions. I went through a roller coaster of emotions; I was angry, frustrated, humiliated, and at one point thought perhaps I was being overly sensitive. It is interesting to me to reflect back on all that I felt during that day. It truly surprised me that as a strong, secure, and confident female Leader in my company, I felt so shaken by what he said.
On a larger scale this interaction has left me wondering, how often does this happen? As more women enter the workplace and more and more women earn positions of Leadership, it is concerning that these types of comments and conversations happen in what should be a safe and professional environment.
I found an interesting study that was recently done that answered some of my questions. I was disappointed to see that, in this survey, 1 in 3 women in the workplace are sexually harassed and only 29% of those women report the incident. These statistics need to change and I hope that by sharing my story I can encourage more conversations where women talk about this and speak out against harassment.