In the wake of explosive allegations against men in power, and with women across the nation saying #TimesUp and #MeToo, it’s clear that we’re moving toward a world in which sexual harassment will no longer be tolerated—and it would have never happened if not for brave women encouraging and supporting each other in telling their stories.
Whisper networks have long existed in various industries and companies, but I’m glad to see them finally going public. That’s a large reason why my company Fairygodboss exits: If women band together and support each other as Fairygodbosses, I believe we can make the workplace tremendously better for women, putting hostile work environments to an end once and for all.
It’s been somewhat surprising to me—but not entirely shocking—to see the reaction of men in the midst of #MeToo, many of whom claim they had no idea this was happening to so many women. Women, on the other hand, are all too familiar with slightly or sometimes overtly inappropriate comments and unwanted advances; we’re also accustomed to an array of workplace injustices and challenges, ranging from fundamental fair practices such as access to fair promotions and equal pay to more specific but still important issues such as access to paid maternity leave and lactation rooms.
It’s not uncommon for us to see women tolerate unfair situations—and, despite problems, resolve to focus on getting their work done. But at Fairygodboss, we want women to realize that these things are not necessarily something to silently accept and that they can share their experiences, both good and bad, so that we can help transform the workplace dynamics that so often hold women back.
In addition to providing a safe, anonymous space for women to review their jobs and companies, we offer women invaluable resources—like our crowdsourced maternity leave, salary and work-life balance databases—that can help job seekers research employers and discover which companies are the most female-friendly. By creating more transparency and helping women understand company culture through other women’s experiences, we’re shedding light on hostile environments—and also showcasing what supportive work environments look like.
Women in our community say they’re mostly satisfied at work, but we know there are key factors employers can improve to achieve a workforce that’s more diverse and inclusive. For instance, 65 percent of women we’ve surveyed say that unequal promotions and unequal pay are the biggest sources of inequality at work; meanwhile, 43 percent of women have told us they’ve experienced some type of harassment at work. On the flip side, top-rated employers tend to have a good representation of women within their management ranks and are supportive of work-life balance—offering generous paid parental leave and a lot of job flexibility.
When my co-founder and I created Fairygodboss, our chief objective was to create a community of women who could help one another grow within the workplace. To us, a “Fairygodboss” is anyone who helps other women—because we believe that women helping women is going to be key to creating greater gender equality in the workplace. Today, I challenge everyone reading this to become a Fairygodboss and join our whisper network by anonymously reviewing your employer—or by joining a discussion on our site.
Our voices are stronger together. #TimesUp on workplace discrimination. Instead, it’s time for us to empower each other and effect lasting change.