I heard a story this week that literally made me want to throw up. A good friend of mine has what you might call a “smoking hot husband.” Now I’m allowed to say this because this person is 1) my friend and 2) not my employee. This friend’s boss met her husband this week and agreed with me (and most of the world) in the thought that he was “smoking hot.” However, this boss said it out loud. She complimented his looks, and then implied that if he were her husband…insert something sexual here.
After hearing this story, I was flabbergasted, to say the least. This woman, whether she would ever admit it or not, is guilty 100% of sexual harassment. Now explain this to me. A man can sexually harass a woman, but we let things slide when it comes from a woman.
We give women the benefit of the doubt, assuming they meant to harm so it caused no harm. But that’s not true. In order to make our collective better as females, we have to hold ourselves, our colleagues, and especially our superiors to a higher standard. Any way you slice it, the story above is sexual harassment. It’s unacceptable, it’s vulgar and it should never happen in the workplace.
So the moral of today’s story? Don’t assume you can make sexual comments to coworkers or employees just because it’s female to female discussion. Inappropriate is inappropriate across the board, no matter who it comes from or how it’s said.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.