Sexual harassment is a big problem in the tech industry for many reasons, but one that's becoming increasingly clear is that the culture of silence around it is still very much an issue.
Women in Comms' upcoming networking breakfast event in Denver is on the subject of combatting sexual harassment and -- for the first time in over 15 events -- we've had some trouble getting speakers on board. It's not for a lack of interest, but rather because their companies -- either the HR or PR departments -- won't let them speak on the subject. They say it's "too controversial" and, let's be honest, they're afraid about the legal ramifications. (See Time's Up in Tech: Ending Sexual Harassment in the Workplace .)
This, in my opinion, is the reason this event is more important than ever. Not talking about sexual harassment is why it's been allowed to become such a rampant problem. Fear of legal, professional and interpersonal repercussions has kept women quiet too long. It's not a controversial subject! We are all against sexual harassment. Keeping quiet about it only allows it to continue.
Luckily, we have four brave and committed women who are willing to speak on the subject: Heather Gold, president and CEO of Fiber Broadband Alliance; Carole Santerre, director of advanced technology operations at Shaw Communications Inc. ; Senior Marketing Executive Liza Adams; and Executive Producer Janet Leahy, who was one of the original writers and producers for The Cosby Show and is going to share her story with us.
Today is International Women's Day and it's as good a time as ever to remind us that we can't fix problems if we can't discuss them. Pretending it doesn't exist isn't going to do anyone good, and if a company is truly committed to helping women in the workforce, their PR and HR departments would agree. (See Another Reason to Promote Women in Comms.)
Join us in Denver to make your voice heard. Register for free here.
— Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms