Not that this lets men off the hook. If you’ve worked with mostly men, as I have, you hopefully know that the ones harassing and abusing power are a minority. And, as we’ve been learning this week, men have stood up and told other men to stop doing these things — particularly if the actions affected a dear friend or partner.
But, in my experience, when women are demeaned or pressured by powerful men to do things they don’t want to do, they often tell another woman. That’s the time when women should be able to support each other, to assess what happened and determine how to help.
What if Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd and the other women who have come forward were to join forces to develop a set of standards. These would be signed by powerful people with whom they and other actresses and artists might work.
What if they insisted that these standards be applied and set up a program to assure that result? Meaning that any person or organization that didn’t adhere to the standards would hear from that program. What if they were to accrue power so their voices would be heard? Then change would happen.
This isn’t just a solution for Hollywood. It can work in any organization. It isn’t anti-men or blind to the fact that some men are falsely accused. It is a start toward a solution for women who have been demeaned, harassed, sexually pressured or worse.
We have to start somewhere. And there is no time like the present.