International Women’s Day

I’ve spent a lot of my week bothered by the treatment of women in business, not just the web industry, business as a whole. I’ve had some pretty horrendous things happen recently; enough to firmly know that I cannot be alone in this. There must be a lot of silenced and fearful females out there right now.

For those of you know have followed me for a while, you’ll know I’m not backwards in coming forwards about articles of this nature. I also pride myself on the fact I think I’m quite balanced. I don’t think we should have any special rights, be treated differently or be above men. I think it’s actually more about being listened to with an understanding that it’s  a safe subject to talk about, right now. Anything more, is too much of a big hurdle. Small steps, greater gains.

It’s got me thinking about how much women are being silenced in this industry, and just how strong you have to be to stand up to events that happen on a daily basis, that derive simply from being born female, and not male.

We’ve gone through rounds and rounds of this before. Conference etiquette manifestos, workplace manifestos, you name it. Not a lot seems to change. It takes one bad, and very powerful egg, and we’re back at square one again. There’s something we’re not doing, as a whole industry, to cultivate a safe place for people to talk openly about misogyny. Tales of woe come and go and are labelled as “drama”. The labels are slapped on them, we raise our hands, scream it’s unfair and once Twitter has silenced, and the dust from the Huffington post articles have settled, it feels like we don’t advance in cutting off the head of the snake.

Let’s just start with something simple. Really simple. Let’s just start with a safe person (I hate that term, it implies everyone else is unsafe, let’s come up with a better name for that too), a designated person within each workplace that’s elected for their listening, empathy and balanced view on the world. We need to start simple and have it mandatory that every tech company holds at least one such person, that helps to cultivate a place of safety, simply for us ladies to come and say “hey, this happened, it doesn’t feel right to me?” and be heard without being judged, nor labelled as a troublemaker.

I would prefer for the safe person to be male, as I think it will help bridge this gap of understanding of what actually happens to make us feel silenced or unsafe in the first place.

I don’t think it’s enough that we assume these people exist within tech companies. It should be mandatory. Who wants to help? It’s fixing a tiny chip, in a huge crack – but it’s a start?

Let’s start with coming up with a better name for the “safe person”. That’s a good start.

I’ve opened up and allowed comments – let’s discuss.