Sexual harassment survey results: Change requires a hard look at our behavior

Progress and parity need grassroots culture change, PRWeek's Bernadette Casey says.

Progress on career advancement and pay parity for women is excruciatingly slow and uneven.

Women with more than five years of experience saw the pay gap versus men with more than five years of experience shrink by $5,000. That’s good news, but the gap is still $35,000.

For women with less than five years of experience, the news is worse. Last year the gap was $5,000, and this year it is $7,000.

On another front, sexually predatory behavior is nothing new in the workforce.

It’s been around for as long as women have been on the job, but the outing of alleged high-profile perpetrators such as Harvey Weinstein and Steve Wynn has focused attention on the problem like never before. These headline-making moments and eye-popping survey data reveals are important and valuable, but they are exactly that: moments.

It is what each of us does within our own personal and professional universes that will feed the needed grassroots culture change and fuel long term, lasting, and hopefully faster progress on these issues.

Real change requires each of us to take a hard look at our day-to-day behavior.

As a manager often faced with budget constraints, did I ever take the opportunity to save a grand or two when someone’s asking salary came in under budget?

I will be commended by higher-ups for saving money, but it makes me part of the problem.

The pay gap between men and women starts out of the gate with men making more than women in our industry.

PRWeek’s sexual harassment survey asked companies whether they had well-communicated policies. More than 40% of respondents said no or I don’t know.

If I had taken the survey, I would fall into that 40%, and unless I go into human resources and advocate for that policy, I am again part of the problem.

This will be a lasting movement if we each take the time to straighten up our own houses and push for the programs, training, and culture needed to create the level playing field women deserve.

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