Holding Men in Powerful Positions Accountable Begins at the Top
Given that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is taking a permanent vacation from the network in light of sexual assault allegations, you might think, yes, of course they are. But I doubt even this move will add up to real change. To investigate why, we ought to look at a defining feature of networks like Fox — the fact that they’re run almost exclusively by men — and what this frequently means for pushing back against sexual harassment in the workplace.
With little representation in leadership positions, both in the government and in the private sector, women have only narrow opportunities to shape organizational conversations around sexual harassment. According to a 2017 Pew research poll, women comprise only 5.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and only 20.2 percent of Fortune 500 board members. In a similar vein, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, in 2016, women held a mere 19.6 percent of congressional seats and only 75 statewide executive offices across the nation. And while, on the whole, female representation at the top has improved in recent decades, that fact is all too often dwarfed by public incidences of male leaders abusing their privilege.