It is Not OK!
I had a disturbing conversation the other day that went south very quickly. I became keenly aware of the continued discrimination that can surround women who work.
An individual who I recently met, who happens to be a CEO, shared with me and others in the conversation, that he was upset at having to fire one of his physicians. Now having been a nurse for more years than my current admitted age, I knew right away that it had to have been pretty bad, because firing a DR. in a hospital does not occur every day.
Being the inquisitive coach that I am I proceeded to dig into his thoughts around this. It was then that things got a little intense! He said “we found out that he crossed the line and was making sexual advances to a patient.” Up until this point I was seeing the scenario play out pretty similar to others I had been involved in as an Executive over the years. I was comfortable until now that it had been handled correctly. I was still uncertain as to why he was so unsettled with that decision until……..
He proceeded to say” well he has always had an eye for the ladies and he had harassed the nurses for years, but he crossed the line when it was a patient.” WHAAAATT?? EXCUSE ME?
Seriously! I kid you not! I swear on my southern sweet tea! I thought at that very moment my head was going to spin off of my torso! I have been told by past coworkers that I do not refrain my face very well when I get upset, and I am certain this day was one of those days!
Why was it only over the line when it was a patient? (beside the fact that they could have sued his pants off.”) Why were his sexual advances and ongoing harassment to nurses considered acceptable? His comment once again took my breath!
“Why you know those type things have been going on for years”
Before I could gather my best Southern Social Style Composure I stated very sternly, even to my own surprise,
“I have one thing to say to you MR____, Murder has been around since Cain and Able too, but that does NOT MAKE IT RIGHT and THIS IS NOT OK!”
It was at that point that I felt the heat of my anger and disgust was beginning to transform into a chubby girl’s bad Linda Blair Exorcist impersonation. Let’s just say it was not my best moment.
I had to try very hard to stop my body compass from spinning rapidly and get my emotional intelligence titrated back to a more acceptable southern style in order to finish my conversation before my blood pressure literally hit stroke level.
As I was driving back home that evening I could not get that whole scenario off my mind. I did not sleep and my thoughts continued to search for answers as to how in the year 2015 in the United States of America where we have more laws to protect rights and avoid discrimination that we have ever had, that this type of thing could continue to happen to women who work, and that there would be educated people who knew it, allowed it and ignored it.
I tried to convince myself that this was an isolated incident of a woman’s workplace wrong, but my inquiring mind would not leave it alone.
I put out a Facebook post and asked my friendly world for their thoughts, opinions, and invited them to share their stories with me privately of any discrimination, harassment or injustice. I was not prepared for what happened next. My inbox by noon that day was blowing up! I want to say thank you to the brave souls that shared their stories with me
There were women who work that had been the target, and men who had witnessed the discrimination that can happen to women who work. It was interesting the number of people who encouraged me to speak up and take up the cause because they all felt is was worth shouting about. I was overwhelmed and many times tearful.
Each story was different– Each story was painful– But Each story was Wrong! With permission I will only share a partial list without details that I received in only a couple of days.
Several ladies shared incidents in which they had spoken up and been shamed, shunned, punished and some fired. All of which they felt were direct result of addressing the issue.
There were reports of threats of demotion while going through divorce, questions regarding ability to handle work with children, a person reported they witnessed someone passed over for promotion because they were trying to get pregnant and were told it would interfere with her ability to do the job.
Divorced women reported being treated unfairly and given more work because they were dependent on the job, and some were told their lack of family allowed them to have to travel more and more was expected because they did not have other obligations.
Multiple women reported and some men shared stories where they had experienced insults and questioning regarding weight and aging,
Specific incidents of sexual groping by a coworker in which HR told her she must have misunderstood, even though he cut the lights off and shut the door………. and the list go on…….
When I questions some of the women who work regarding why they were not more vocal about this mistreatment the answers were very similar………
I really need this job, I know boys will be boys so I tried to just let it go, … They were my boss so what was I going to do…..No one will listen to me or believe me I am just the……….
Ladies let me tell you who you are! You are a special, gifted, talented, strong human being who deserves respect. You are a beautiful creature that has purpose. You are meant to believe in yourself and your abilities. You deserve kindness, respect, understanding and the right to be treated fairly. You have a voice that deserves to be heard! Know you deserve no Less!
Don’t Settle for it!–Don’t Hide from it!–Don’t Allow it!!
I invite you to take a stand with me and women who work to let everyone know!
IT IS NOT OK!!!!
Please feel free to follow my blog and explore who I am at www.jeanneboschert.com