As a female artist and through my work with GedenkMovement.org, I realized that "It's a Man's Man's World," and although women's rights in the U.S. are currently under attack we are still considered as "progressive" compared to the lack of basic women's rights in many parts of this world. Hence, it is our responsibility to demand what was granted to us by law.
On July 2nd 1964, President Johnson signed the new "Civil Rights Act of 1964" into law with the considerable presence of impact from leading activists including Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil right's leaders. The law's provisions created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address race and sex discrimination in employment and a Community Relations Services. It followed The1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" that was a part of the civil rights activists' campaigns focusing on schools, housing, and jobs. We have come a long way since the bill was passed. However, discrimination at the workplace is still boldly present in our society. For example, how many of you have been in a situation of being sexually harassed at your work place and were left wondering what, if anything could be done? You submitted a report and nothing happened, you were asked to keep things quiet or perhaps you have been told that you are making a big deal out of nothing. Really?!
My personal experience and discussing this subject with my female friends taught me that often times we do not follow up with an effective course of action simply because we are not sure what is the right thing to do, what are our legal rights and most importantly; we are too hurt and emotional to act in a logical way that would produce the results that would satisfy us.
Here is something that we all must know according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission whose website states:
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
Needless to say that sexual harassment and discrimination can affect women's lives; their mental health, physical health even their social and economic status. The effects are far reaching beyond the work place, transferring to personal lives, home lives and to those who rely on them.
Here is a list of 10 tips that I found to be effective and I hope that could be useful if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, you should always refer to an attorney for legal advice.
- Don't be afraid to confront; always defend yourself or tell the harasser to "back off."
Although I hope you will never have to use this list, as a woman in a male dominated field, understanding the difficulties and the challenges that we all face, the reality is that we still have a long way to go. I would like to encourage all of us not to be afraid, to stand up for our own and work together to move us forward for a better future of equality and respect.