2017 was the year for women. In 2018 now what?

by | Jan 1, 2018

2017 has been hailed as the year for women

But now this year for women needs follow-up as well as actionable and measurable results in 2018

2017 has been hailed as the year for women.  There is no doubt it has been an exceptional time. The most notable has been a profound societal shift in the way women are feeling sufficiently empowered to speak up and out. Their voices have been heard protesting against sexism, whether sexual harassment and gender violence or the softer, but no less corrosive, general sexism at the other end of the scale. Fuelled by a powerful cocktail of anger and frustration they have raised their voices in a loud and very primal scream.

What made 2017 the year for women?

We kicked off with the Women’s Marches in January which took place in Washington and other US locations in protest against Donald Trump’s presidency and the policies he advocated on his campaign.  Women from across the globe in cities as far apart as Brussels, London and Sydney supported the marches. The world expected the first female president and got something else entirely. The President still has 16 outstanding accusations of sexual assault against him and was recorded bragging about his sexual exploits. “I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.”

The #MeToo movement broke away from tolerating the intolerable, to empowering women internationally exposing the abuse of power that they experience the world over on a daily basis. Women outed powerful men and held them accountable for gross misconduct or even criminal activity. For almost the first time we saw serious repercussions in significant numbers. Senior heads rolled in diverse sectors from sports, theatre, academia, fashion, movies, Tech, industry, TV and politics. Men such as Harvey Weinstein, Damien Green, Matt Lauer and Travis Kalanick were exposed, thrown into the limelight and were fired or forced to resign.

The Silence Breakers won the Time Person of the Year award. Yet let’s not forget that Donald Trump was in second place.

More voices

Culturally and politically there were some dramatic changes. An increasing number of women are entering politics, with the US reporting a higher number of women standing for political office in 2018 than ever before.  In film and on TV the voices of women gained momentum in highly acclaimed productions such: The Handmaiden‘s Tale, Big Little Lies, Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Mudbound, Insecure, The Keepers, Alias Grace, female writers and creators finally shared their narratives

Feminism became the word of the year in the Merriman Webster dictionary.

Women of colour in Alabama voted in record numbers for their candidate of choice.

In France President Emmanuel Macron is making gender based insults a criminal offence to combat wider issues of sexism and sexual harassment in everyday life.

We have now finally extended the conversations around how men should behave towards women because it is clear that some are confused. Justin Baldoni launched an initiative calling on men to step away from a culture of toxic masculinity in an impressive TED Talk “Why I’m done trying to be man enough.” Men in positions of influence are stepping up to renounce their peers who are guilty and joining the protest.

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But in 2018 now what?

year for women

So although there is a growing awareness of an imbalance of power between men and women in our societies and the voices of the mainly rich and famous are being aired and heard, the average woman will not experience the same shift. There are any number of indications that this is only the beginning.

Female hotel workers need panic buttons to protect themselves against sexual assault. Women are under represented in senior corporate roles and the gender pay gap is alive and well.  Every day sexism goes unchecked in our workplaces and there is resistance to unconscious bias training. American women have seen a reduction in their medical benefits and the right to control their own bodies. The World Economic Forum in the Global Gender Gap Report for 2017 tells us that trend towards gender balance is going backwards.

The low paid and low skilled jobs that many women work in are at greatest risk for replacement by AI and automation.  According to exit polls,  from the recent Alabama elections, 63% of white women voted for Moore, a man accused of "sexually pursuing, abusing, or assaulting multiple teenage girls"  This was in line with the presidential election result, where 53% of white female voters cast their ballots for a man caught on tape talking about grabbing women “by the pussy.”

This noise is just the first stirrings,  and by no means the end.

So if 2017 was the year of women’s voices then 2018 needs to be the year of women’s actions, with tangible measurable results for all to see. Narrative without action will get women nowhere.

A dream without action despite one that is aired vocally by high-profile celebrities, while a start, is still just a wish.

 

Start 2018 in your organisation with a commitment to a strong female talent pipeline. Contact 3Plus NOW! 

 

 

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she joins the dots between organisations, individuals, opportunity and success.
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Dates for the Diary

November 12th  European Commission DG GROW

Informal talk on how to deal with sexism - 12.30 - 1400

November 25th Council of the European Union - Corporate Event

How to deal with sexism and harassment in the workplace

 

 

 

 

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