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Time's Up in Tech: Ending Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sarah Thomas
1/31/2018

As much as I hate that this is true, the topic for our upcoming Women in Comms networking breakfast event in Denver was perfectly clear: We're tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, because it's a BIG issue, perhaps even more so in the tech world than in other industries.

I went on maternity leave for three months at the end of last year and tuned out of social media and the news for a little while. It turns out what I missed was every single male in power being exposed for sexually harassing and/or assaulting women and generally making the workplace a toxic place for their female associates. OK, I'm exaggerating when I say "every single," but it certainly felt that way! (Why, Matt Lauer, why?!) (See WiCipedia: Edtech Wins, Bitcoin Bros & Looking Towards 2018, WiCipedia: Cryptocurrency & a Sexism Code Word , WiCipedia: #MeToo Hits the Valley & WiC Goes to London and WiC Panel: The Upside of Sexism Scandals.)

All the revelations of sexual wrongdoing that have come to light in recent months have demonstrated that sexual harassment, assault and men in power generally abusing their status is extremely prevalent and has been kept under wraps for far too long. It's not just happening in the entertainment industry either. The world of tech, and similarly comms, is not immune. That's long been a theme in tech too, and one that's coming to light more and more in the past year.

According to Women in Comms' 2017 survey of women in the next-gen comms industry, one third of women in the industry have been sexually harassed at their company or an industry event. More concerning is the fact that 65% chose not to report it, and 37% kept quiet because they were afraid it would negatively impact their careers. (See Light Reading's 2017 Survey of Women in Comms.)

We're breaking the silence at our upcoming breakfast event in Denver. It's time to look at our own industry and tackle the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace head on, discussing how to address it an individual, company-wide and industry-wide level and how to make it so these types of conversations aren’t as necessary in the future. (See Harassment in the Workplace.)

We're lucky to already have three accomplished (and brave!) women joining our panel discussion (and we're still looking for one or two more who want to talk about this important topic). Joining Women in Comms and our partner companies, including VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Parallel Wireless Inc. and many more, are:

  • Heather Gold, President & CEO, Fiber Broadband Alliance
  • Judy Brown, Senior Field Engineering Business Analyst, Charter Communications Inc.
  • Liza Adams, Senior Marketing Executive

We hope you will join in this important conversation too. Register for Women in Comms’ free networking breakfast event, taking place on March 22, ahead of day two of the Cable Next-Gen Technologies conference in Denver, Colo., right here. And, whether you can join us or not, please feel free to let us know your stories, comments and questions for the panelists, either here on the message boards or over email at [email protected] Anonymous submissions are welcome.

We look forward to seeing you in Denver!

— Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

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