How can women get ahead if men refuse to meet with them?

Thanks to the recent sexual harassment scandals of Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Uber and probably a basket full of men who have yet to be uncovered, men in positions of power say they are now terrified to go on solo meetings with women. Which begs the question “How can women get ahead if men refuse to meet with them?”

Yes, after discovering the harrowing incidents women have gone through working their way up in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the News Media (and a host of other professions), it’s men who are now scared — fearing their careers will be torpedoed by some woman they *accidentally* harass.

As the New York Times reported investors in Silicon Valley are cancelling one-on-one meetings with women or rescheduling them to conference rooms or places with more witnesses. Some are even refusing to offer one-on-one mentorship, meet with potential recruits or go on networking meetings alone. Despite the fact that building these relationships is the number one predictor of career success (sorry ladies!).

Indeed, there’s a “heightened sense of caution” according to the Times who spoke with several such men.

From the New York Times: 
“A big chill came across Silicon Valley in the wake of all these stories, and people are hyperaware and scared of behaving wrongly, so I think they’re drawing all kinds of parameters,” said a venture capitalist who spoke anonymously for the same reason.

It’s not just Silicon Valley. If you recall,  Vice President Mike Pence has also said he never has dinner alone with a woman other than his wife. As appalled as people were, a New York Times poll then discovered that position was pretty mainstream.

And other men have made similar comments in online forums:

I have never met alone with a woman for business reasons in my life. I always make sure there is a third person so there can never be any claims of inappropriate behaviors or comments.”

If you’re following along that means women who want to network, make business deals, and you know TRY TO BUILD A CAREER, will never get the luxury of a one-on-one meeting. Not only that, how likely are women to get promoted if their male bosses become fearful the moment a vagina walks in the room? My guess is not likely.

It’s silly.

Not only is it silly — and bad for the future success of women globally — but it completely negates the experiences of women who were sexually harassed. Because these men aren’t saying “Wow, we’re so sorry women had to go through this. Men should not have been putting women in those situations for all these years. How can we help?”

Instead these men are saying, maybe it didn’t really go down like that. Maybe these men have been falsely accused? Maybe these women did something to lead them on? Maybe women are too sensitive and it wasn’t really harassment? Maybe the problem here is women trying to take down powerful men?

Men saying they can’t be in a room with a woman alone puts the blame on the WOMAN. Right? Not the men.

These terrified investors aren’t blaming the abusive men for these situations. What they’re really saying is it could happen to ANY MAN. AT ANY TIME. EVEN THEM. As if they have no control over the situation or their own actions. The only variable then is the woman. The only thing they think they can remove is the woman. They can’t possibly create a situation in which a sexually abusive man could be removed because apparently in their minds … all men, even themselves, have the ability to sexually harass.

Either that or they think the women are lying. So which is it guys?

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