Although Doug Jones’ victory over Roy Moore in Alabama last week was by the smallest of margins (Jones won by just 0.5 percent), we can view this as part of a turning tide for American working women, for women professionals, political leaders, social leaders and the great mass of female American employees who turn the cogs of our economy.
The Jones victory makes clear that women are paying acute attention and are able to use their political and social capital to change the status quo. The American public is slowly but surely beginning to understand how severe and rampant sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination is in the workplace.
The Jones victory stands for a widespread belief that our institutions – public, private, profit-making, nonprofit, and governmental – must be above reproach when it comes to assault against the women of this country. And not just assault in the form of physical sexual assault and harassment, but assault in its many forms, including routine degrading and demeaning behaviors that place women in positions of disadvantage.
Leading from the Nation’s Workplaces
What the Alabama Senate race highlighted most clearly is that the issue is pervasive and requires real, concrete action. This is not a time for half measures. Minor adjustments by companies and a few hours of sexual harassment training per year are not going to change things quickly enough in America’s workplaces.
Our institutions and organizations must take the lead on the issue. They must dramatically beef up policies, corporate cultures, and institutional attitudes through education, interaction, and constant and consistent training that incorporates a deeper and more incisive review of the existing problem and provides implementable solutions.
The chorus of #MeToo must penetrate our nation’s male-dominated boardrooms and lead to real change in the country’s workplaces.
Not a Time to Rest
Moore’s defeat in Alabama warrants celebration, but the narrow margin of Jones’ victory signals that this is not the time for us to rest.
We must capitalize on the momentum this gives to all those working to end sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, male and female. To do otherwise would be to miss an opportunity to bring about real, lasting change that benefits all women, and in turn, society at large.