A panel of pioneers and leaders met to discuss gender power dynamics in all sectors
23 Enero 2018 17:20
The World Economic Forum in Davos is usually a gathering of the world’s economic leaders discussing everything from financial crashes to technology to geopolitical development. But this year, in light of the recent #MeToo social movement after multipl allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein, a panel of pioneering thinkers from various sectors came together to discuss how to tackle the issue of female subjugation.
Elisabeth Bumiller, of the New York Times, was joined by Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft; Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women in Canada’s cabinet; Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the USA’s Advertising Council; Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley; and Winnie Byanyima, executive director at Oxfam International. Here are the crucial moments from the empowering session.
Peggy Johnson, Microsoft:
Microsoft are working with the US government to pass new legislation in light of the #MeToo campaign to abandon clauses in work contracts that forbid speaking out against sexual harassment.
‘I’ve been in the tech industry for almost 30 years and things changed as I moved up the ranks - the power dynamic shrunk.’
Visibly upset and through tears, Johnson described how she used to laugh at sexist jokes in the workplace to get by. She then shared a story about her daughter who said she never laughs at sexist jokes, because she learnt not to from her mother. ‘Whenever I feel discouraged, I look at my daughter and see things are changing.’
‘We need to move towards a different type of leadership, not just the aggression.’
Maryam Monsef, Canadian cabinet:
‘What is the most effective way a government can intervene? Introduce a gender-based violence strategy which has money attached to it. There are three pillars attached to this: 1) Prevention 2) Support for survivors and family 3) Focus and investment in more responsive legal justice systems.’
‘Politics has affected me ever since I was born as an (Afghan) refugee on foreign soil. I was raised by a single mother. She grew up in an era in Afghanistan when women’s rights were different, before the war happened. So she was always taught she could be something. We need to ensure we are inspiring the next generation.’
Lisa Sherman, Advertising Council:
The Advertising Council has been working closely with Friends actor David Schwimmer on the issue of sexual harassment. He has been filming reenactments of gender-based harassment to highlight the many faces of harassment.
‘If we are having a confessional, I came up through a corporate career and I lived in the closet as a gay woman for 15 years, and listened to jokes about being gay which would break my heart. I didn't say anything because I thought it would hurt my career. When I finally did have the courage to come out, I was so moved by how free I felt. All the feelings of making people feel less than I cannot stand, because I felt like that.’
Dacher Keltner, University of California, Berkeley:
‘When Harvey Weinstein kicked off the #MeToo movement, I realised this was a regular human pattern, and that when you give people power it incapacitates their empathy. It deactivates empathy. Power leads to abuse. With women in power, unlike with men, you don’t see corruption and abuse as readily.’
‘In business we have shifted historically from a top-down, Machiavellian model and we are moving to a collaborative model. We need to build in empathy and look at how to teach empathy.’
Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International:
‘I want to bring you the stories of ordinary women. Women in underdeveloped countries, in the informal industry; at the bottom of supply chains. From the people we speak to, they have all faced sexual harassment or know someone who has. Domestic workers globally.’
‘Three things need to be done: 1) Take out all the laws that discriminate against women in the economy 2) Tackle the social norms, beliefs and attitudes that elad to exploitation of women; the private sector has an important role to play in how they can use their factories, how they advertise etc. 3) We must bring women into decision making everywhere, not just in politics, but in home, schools, at work etc.’
‘Powerless people cannot challenge abuse.’