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January 7, 2022
It boggles my mind how in this day and age, despite the Me Too movement, TIME’S UP and the general social awakening we have undergone in the channel and beyond, that I STILL TO THIS DAY hear stories of men sexually harassing women in our own industry. And I’m not even talking about the pervasive and systemic issues of gender bias and pay discrimination against women, but outright sexual harassment. Many of these situations seem to happen at the industry conferences where these men (and I use that term very loosely) seem to think the rules of the workplace and acceptable conduct don’t apply. I know of too many utterly deplorable stories to even care to share in this forum.
Sadly, many of the instances go unreported but people who are well-connected in the channel find out one way or another. Even when women push through the fear of retaliation by their employers and negative impacts to their career paths to report the incidents, very little seems to be getting done about it against the culprits. Even when some of these offenders lose their job for their gross misconduct, we find them landing another job with relative ease somewhere else in the channel. In fact, some go on to sexually harass again and again in future jobs.
I believe the issue is being compounded by the fact that their conduct isn’t reported publicly so future employers never really find out why they were let go by their previous employer. Is it a matter of creating a registry of sorts that you get listed on for these types of offenses? Maybe that’s what it will take to abolish this abhorrent behavior. Why do we protect the privacy of these offenders like this?
I’m sure these ideas will spark some controversy in the comments section but if you find these ideas outrageous, I have some questions for you. Where is your outrage when you hear about these horrible stories of sexual harassment and sometimes even sexual assault? Where is your outrage over systemic gender bias and workplace discrimination? What are you doing to prevent or stop this behavior within your organizations and in the channel? When you see something do you say something?
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This channel is chock full of some of the most dynamic, brilliant, hard-working women I have ever seen. At bare minimum and regardless of gender, women have earned the same respect you would give your male colleagues. When you factor in their gender, you should realize that they had to work twice as hard, twice as smart and twice as long to get to the same levels as some of their male counterparts. Many must constantly make life sacrifices as they juggle holding down the fort at home, raising children and probably supporting a man as he focuses on his career. All the while as they navigate their own career aspirations. With all those factors in mind, they have earned MORE respect by far than their male counterparts.
Start treating women with respect and dignity and do it now. Enough is enough. We need to do better!
Dany Bouchedid is founder and CEO of data center infrastructure solutions provider COLOTRAQ. He is also a member of the Channel Futures DE&I Advisory Board and was named to Channel Futures’ inaugural DE&I 101.
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