People fear public speaking more than death, according to The Huffington Post, but what if not speaking up results in something even more frightening? Sometimes, it can be hard to know where to begin. Whether you are wanting to get your idea out there, or speak up against workplace injustice, here are a few phrases to help you.
“I don’t agree.” All too often, women are expected to simply accept ideas and suggestions from men with either silence or murmured agreement. Even when these men in the workplace are of an equal station, women are frequently worried that their ideas will not be taken seriously, or shot down. It’s time to end this fear of rejection. A simple “I don’t agree,” followed by your own suggestion is a great first step to having your voice and opinion heard. As Michelle Obama said; “Don’t waste your seat at the table.”
“Me too.” Solidarity with your fellow victim is the key-most important factor in ridding the work place of sexual harassment and gender politics. The “Me Too” movement, which is in the running as one of the candidates for Times’ 2017 Person of the Year, grew as a social media response to the ever growing list of people who have been outed as sexual abusers. Women and men would share on social media their “Me Too” moment, or a time when they had been sexually harassed or abused.
This spotlight on sexual abuse and harassment as a commonplace activity prevents such acts from being swept under the rug in the workplace, as they all too often have been in the past. Visibility and education put the pressure on managements to view sexual harassment with the no-tolerance policy it should have always had. Speak up. Use your “Me too.”
“That is not okay.” Fear of backlash, being fired, or simply being ignored are some of the top reasons why women in the past have not spoken up during, or after workplace harassment or assault. With the changing climate when it comes to reporting sexual harassment, it is more important than ever to speak up before, during, and after an inappropriate act takes place.
According to a recent post by Inc.com, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg posted a Facebook post outlining a series of actions to undertake to prevent sexual assault and harassment in organizations going forward. This included outlining clear policies against sexual harassment and assault within a company, and instituting policies to support them. So how can you help? If something is happening within your company that works against anti-harassment policies, let management know that “That is not okay.” If your coworker is making inappropriate comments, speak up to both your coworker and upper management that this sort of behavior is not okay. Be polite, but firm. Have copies of company policies if possible.
So go ahead; take up space. Do not shrink or shy away from letting your voice be heard. The spotlight on wrong-doers of sexual assault, harassment, and workplace sexism is brighter than ever now. With more and more victims speaking up, your own voice is becoming more powerful. So don’t be afraid to speak up; every little word is an opportunity for progress.