Following allegations of sexual harassment against men in media and Hollywood, there is new focus on the challenges women face in the workplace.
“We have an opportunity right now to change that game for good,” said Beth Monaghan, CEO of InkHouse.
A decade ago, Monaghan founded her public relations firm after working in the industry for years. Her goal was to build a company that supported women and enhanced their careers. Now, 80 percent of her staff is women.
“When I look back I realize that all of my bosses were men in an industry that was 70 percent female,” Monaghan explained. “What we don’t talk about are those intangible moments that keep women back. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are two of the most powerful ways to keep women down.”
However, with the rise of claims against men in positions of power, many women hope this could be a sign of change.
“I thought I saw it all, and I obviously didn’t,” said Katherine Michon, an attorney at Hartley Michon Robb in Boston.
For years, Michon has represented employees with claims against their employers, many of which include allegations of sexual harassment. In lieu of the recent dialogue surrounding the issue, she expects more possible victims will come forward.
“I think what’s empowering of all this is that women are now saying, ‘No, I’m not going to stay quiet anymore. I know what happened was wrong, and I’m going to say something,’” said Michon.
The next step, however, still remains in the hands of the employer in many cases. Monaghan said she was encouraged by the action many companies have taken against employees. Going forward, she hopes to see more accountability.
“I think it’s amazing that this movement has unearthed all these problems,” Monaghan said, “But it is the beginning and not the ending.”