Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) wants men to do more to fight against pay inequality and sexual harassment.
“Abuse in the workplace is not about sex. It’s about power,” said Frankel, who chairs the Democratic Women’s Working Group. “So when one person has more power than the other, it makes the person with the lesser power more vulnerable to all types of abuse.”
Men should take “affirmative, assertive action” to fight gender inequality at work, Frankel told HuffPost ahead of Equal Pay Day, which falls on Tuesday this year. The day represents how far into 2018 a woman would have to work to make what a man made in 2017.
Frankel added that President Donald Trump’s policies are not helping women get ahead.
“His administration has probably some of the worst, misogynist, anti-women policies ever in recent history because he has doubled down on bad policies,” she said. “And not just here at home, but around the world.”
“This is the president who is abusive with his tweets, with his livelihood, with his respect of people. It’s humiliating for the country.”
Trump and his administration have a horrible track record when it comes to women. Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct (ranging from harassment to assault and rape) by 21 women, but has repeatedly denied all allegations against him as “fake news.” He has rolled back access to safe and affordable reproductive health care in the U.S. and around the world, and condoned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent move to rescind an Obama-era Title IX guideline that aided survivors of sexual assault in reporting their abuse.
“If we want men to respect women and stop all this harassment, we need role models,” Frankel said. “This is the president who is abusive with his tweets, with his livelihood, with his respect of people. It’s humiliating for the country.”
Frankel referenced a recent bipartisan Women’s Caucus hearing she organized where Dr. Jackson Katz, a co-founder of the gender violence prevention program Mentors in Violence Prevention, laid out what men need to do to level the playing field.
“One of the things that Katz stressed was that most men are not the abusers, but many times they know about it or they witness it,” Frankel said.
“He stressed that intervention is very important, that when a man knows about abuse in his workplace, men must intervene to try to stop it,” she added. “The heads of these companies, the supervisors, the management, everybody, it must be part of their culture that they will not tolerate sexual harassment, and it must be made known.”