Anne Litwin

Author, Keynote Speaker, Workshop Trainer and OD Consultant

Sexual Harassment and Assault: A Costly Tax for Women

sexual-harassment-and-assault-a-costly-tax-for-womenI am the survivor of both sexual assault and rape, and I understand all too well the high cost, or tax, that women pay for being treated as sexual objects.  I experienced sexual assault as a child, an adolescent, a young woman, and a middle-aged woman. I have never talked about most of these experiences, but I believe that women now need to speak out to make it clear that disrespecting women is a real problem, not just “locker room talk.”  Sexual assault and violence are serious problems all over the world and not small problems in our country.  Amanda Taub of the New York Times reports the following:

Women in China: Still Waiting for Equality

women-in-china-still-waiting-for-equalityI have the good fortune to travel to mainland China two or three times a year. As a practicing organization development consultant and trainer for more than thirty years, it is a thrill for me to share my knowledge and experience in China by teaching leadership and consulting skills workshops to Chinese professionals. I have been fascinated with China ever since I taught English there in the 1980s when the country was newly opened to Western tourism and commerce after being closed to the West for decades. I continue to marvel at the changes that the Chinese have accomplished since my first visit over thirty years ago. I have seen the country evolve from a backward Third World country to a First World global power. But, to my surprise, one thing that has not changed is discrimination against women in society and the workplace.

Women Competing with Women: How to Make Competition Fun and Energizing

women-competing-with-women-how-to-make-competition-fun-and-energizingAs a consultant and coach for more than thirty years, I have heard too many painful stories from female clients about feeling unsupported and even undermined by other women at work. When I decided to research this dynamic for my book, New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together, I found that these feelings and experiences happen for a reason: organizations actually set up women to feel competitive with one another. This happens when women see very few other women in senior leadership positions. As one of my research participants explained:

A Road Map to Gender Equity: Women in the Workplace 2016 Report

a-road-map-to-gender-equity-women-in-the-workplace-2016-reportA new study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey finds little progress in advancement for women in the largest companies. This study of 132 companies employing 4.6 million people includes a review of the pipeline data of the companies, a survey of HR practices, and surveys of 34,000 employees about attitudes on gender, job satisfaction, ambition, and work-life issues.

Key Findings: The Current State

First, let’s take a look at key findings from the study:

  • Women remain underrepresented at every level. For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted. This disparity begins early and grows larger with only 20 percent of SVP roles held by women, which results in very few women in line to become CEO.

How Female Scientists Are Fighting to Be Heard

how-female-scientists-are-fighting-to-be-heardNot long ago, a prominent neuroscientist noticed an announcement for an upcoming neuroscience conference. Apoorva Mandavilli of the New York Times reports that this scientist, Dr. Yael Niv of Princeton University, also noticed that “none of the twenty-one speakers were women.” She was upset because she had been pushing for greater inclusion of women scientists as speakers at conferences for years. To top it off, the organizers of this conference were women. This event pushed Dr. Niv and about twenty of her women colleagues to take stronger action to create change.

How Sexism and Racism Can Be Harmful to Your Health

how-sexism-and-racism-can-be-harmful-to-your-healthSexism and racism are two forms of systemic injustice where people are treated unfairly by a network of social institutions because they belong to a certain social-identity group. For example, much has been written about the gender-pay gap and obstacles to promotion for women in many fields. In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has raised our awareness of the higher rates of incarceration and killing of African Americans by police and the judicial system than is true for Whites. Gender and race are not the only social-identity categories where discrimination occurs, of course. Let’s take a look at some recent studies on how sexism and racism can be harmful to our health. (Be aware that these findings probably apply to other marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQIA community, as well.)

What Sexism Looks Like in Politics and Life

what-sexism-looks-like-in-politics-and-lifeExamples of sexism are rampant in the United States as demonstrated in our presidential contest, sexual harassment scandals, and other public-sector examples like the gender-wage gap. Let’s be clear—both women and men can hold sexist attitudes about women. Sexist attitudes usually include negative stereotypes that create barriers or unfair double standards for women. I have written about many ways that internalized sexism makes it difficult for women to support strong women leaders in my book, New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together. Below are some examples of sexist attitudes currently on display.

New Mothers in the Cockpit: Challenges for Female Pilots

new-mothers-in-the-cockpit-challenges-for-female-pilotsThe commercial aviation industry remains one of the toughest and least accommodating for new mothers. Annalyn Kurtz of the New York Times notes that “pilots are exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to accommodate new mothers.” Perhaps because only 4 percent of the 159,000 certified commercial airline pilots are women, and only a portion of these are childbearing age, the issues of paid maternity leave and accommodation for breast-feeding are not priorities for union collective bargaining efforts. Many male pilots are also not supportive of fighting for these policy changes on behalf of their female colleagues because they do not see the policies as important. For these reasons, female pilots have begun to join forces to pressure their male colleagues and unions to support demands for paid maternity leave and alternative work assignments so that women can keep their jobs and support their families during pregnancy and while nursing newborns.

How Men Can Help Close the Gender Equity Gap: Examples of Success

how-men-can-help-close-the-gender-equity-gap-examples-of-success“Sisterhood is not enough; men must be involved in efforts to equalize workplace culture,” writes Peggy Klaus in the New York Times. Klaus goes on to quote Belinda Parmar, head of the tech consultancy Lady Geek, as saying, “gender equity is not a ‘women’s problem,’ it’s a society problem.” I could not agree more, and we need to do more to change workplace culture.

Stopping Harassment in the Legal Profession: The ABA Takes a Stand

Stopping Harassment in the Legal ProfessionThe American Bar Association (ABA) recently passed national standards that prohibit harassment of opposing counsel, witnesses, coworkers, court personnel, and others in the course of practicing law. Elizabeth Olson of the New York Times reports that according to the new standards, “harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct” based on race, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or marital or economic status.

In a separate article, Olson explains that harassment has long been intentionally used in the legal profession to intimidate or fluster opposing counsel and witnesses as well as to reinforce male-dominated attitudes in the legal profession.  She reports that a recent ABA study found that “stereotypical sexist remarks to female lawyers contribute to their underrepresentation in the legal field.” The study also revealed these statistics: