While a lot is being said and written about the #MeToo moments, from recent or not so recent past, perhaps now is the best time to look closely at what can be done to ensure that the communications and PR folks are empowered to take charge of shaping workplaces that are safe and secure.
From what I have seen, heard and know, the #MeToo moments of PR professionals can and have many aspects and implications too.
In a training session last month, a young lady who works for a PR agency, was in tears, she recounted the extreme humiliation she was facing from her client, this guy she said “makes me feel as if I am not there and he ignores my presence and keeps talking to my male colleagues “, a mature and a bright woman, when she went on to add that this “client representative only talks to the men in my team”
Frankly, any experience like the one above, are the tougher #MeToo moments which we need to be wary of and take measures to control, address and speak up. Now. Instead of taking it in stride just because it is about business and clients.
I also heard out another young woman who was being verbally harassed and humiliated by her client whenever she interacted with him, but this was a client who made sure that when she went with her boss ( a male colleague), this client would be a totally different person and therefore she was in a fix as to who will believe her and how.
In both these situations, I realized that in an industry like ours, there is a lot we can fix before things go out of hand and that harassment of any kind can be and is the #MeToo moment for that aggrieved woman.
In an earlier PR Parable, I had shared the power play “me-too” moment of this bright young PR executive working for a PR agency who got involved with the CEO of her client organization, while the agency CEO snubbed the client CEO by giving up the account, this was a classic #MeToo moment where quietly walking away and hushing the matter was the wrong thing to do. All in hindsight.
Given the nature of our work and the vulnerability of being caught in harassment of many kinds, let us take this #MeToo wave as a clarion call and look at all aspects of workplace harassment and bring in platforms and places that protect … the victim and not the guilty.