ENDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT

As the nation struggles with how to manage sexual misconduct in the workplace, the New York City Council and allied groups are calling for sweeping changes and more protections in the workplace. Carole Wacey, CEO of The Women’s City Club of New York, joins us to discuss potential approaches to ending workplace harassment.

Aired on March 23, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> AS THE NATION GRAPPLES WITH HOW TO CONFRONT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL HAS PRESENTED 11 BI BILLS -- WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PRESENT TRAINING TO PREVENT MISCONDUCT.

NEW YORK CITY WOULD JOIN STATES LIKE MAINE AND CALIFORNIA THAT MANDATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING.

CAROL WASSEY WHO IS THE CEO OF THE WOMEN'S CITY CLUB AND IS PART OF OUR CONTINUING COVERAGE OF WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH HERE ON 'METROFOCUS.'

WE'RE PLEASED TO WELCOME HERE BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

I SHOULD SAY YOU'RE NOT ONLY A PREVIOUS 'METROFOCUS' GUEST, BUT YOU ARE SLPT IN CHARGE OF OUR EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND WE MISS YOU.

IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK, AT LEAST FOR SIX MINUTES.

I MISS YOU AND EVERYBODY HERE AT WNET, YOU DO GREAT WORK AND I CONTINUE TO WHERE A FAN OF 'METROFOCUS.'

YOU RECENTLY APPEARED BEFORE THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL OFFERING A FIVE POINT STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE.

IT'S REALLY AN IMPORTANT TOPIC THAT'S BEING ADDRESSED RIGHT NOW.

WHAT WE HAVE OUTLINED IS REALLY A VERY STRAIGHT FORWARD FIVE-PART POLICY, LOOKING AT EVERYTHING FROM THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, THE STUFF YOU DO HERE 'METROFOCUS,' GETTINGE GETGE GETTING WORD OUT TO THE GENERAL 3 POPULATION, MAKING SURE KIDS GET EDUCATION ALL THE WAY THROUGH COLLEGE AND INTO THEIR CAREER.

AND MAKING SURE THAT VICTIMS HAVE PLACES TO GO, MAKING SURE PERPETRATORS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

AND ALSO FOR GENERAL EMPLOYERS, MAKING SURE THEY PUT MEASURES IN PLACE.

BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL AND YOUR INTERACTION WITH THE MEMBERS AFTER YOU HAVE TESTIFIED, DO YOU GET A SENSE THAT THE COUNCIL IS TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY, PERHAPS MORE SERIOUSLY THAN EVER BEFORE?

SUPER SERIOUSLY.

I THINK THIS IS A BIG ISSUE.

AND WHILE DISAPPOINTED THAT WE HAVEN'T COME SO FAR, VERY EXCITED THAT THE CITY COUNCIL LED BY HELEN ROSENTHAL WHO CHAIRS THE WOMEN'S COMMITTEE HAS REALLY LAID OUT A VERY AGGRESSIVE, VERY BROAD BASED AGENDA, REALLY TACKLING EVERYTHING FROM ANYONE WHO DEALS WITH THE CITY AS A CONTRACTOR, TO MAKING SURE CITY AGENCIES ADDRESS THESE ISSUES IN A COMPREHENSIVE WAY.

YOU KNOW AS WE ALL KNOW, OVER THE PAST YEAR, WE HAVE HEARD FROM MANY WOMEN, COMING FORWARD, TELLING THEIR STORIES AND NOT JUST ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE, THEY HAVE TOLD OF STORIES SURROUNDING ISSUES OF GENDER EQUALITY.

I WONDER, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHERE, ON ISSUES SURROUNDING J GENDER EQUALITY, WHERE HAVE WE MADE REAL PROGRESS IN THE COUNTRY AND WHERE ARE WE STILL FALLING SHORT?

JUST IN NEW YORK THIS PAST YEAR, THERE WAS A DECISION THAT YOU CANNOT ASK EMPLOYEES ABOUT PAST SALARY HISTORY.

THAT MAY NOT SOUND LIKE A BIG DEAL, IT IS A BIG DEAL.

BECAUSE SO OFTEN WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN PARTICULAR HAVE BEEN DISADVANTAGED SO TAKING THAT PIECE OF INFORMATION AWAY FROM EMPLOYERS JUST TO PUT EVERYONE ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

WE SHOULD ALL BE APPROACHED BY WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE BRING TO AN ORGANIZATION, THERE'S THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT THEN YOU LOOK AT SOMETHING LIKE THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR THAT FOR ALMOST 100 YEARS ESSENTIALLY.

I WENT WITH MY MOTHER ON A BUS BACK IN THE EARLY '80s FIGHTING FOR THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT.

THE GOOD NEWS IS IT'S ALL AT THE FOREFRONT NOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THESE ISSUES AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE TURN THIS HASH TAG, ME TOO AND OTHERS, INTO ACTION.

YOU SAID THAT EDUCATION IS A CRITICAL ELEMENT IN BRINGING ABOUT A CULTURE OF RESPECT.

WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

AND HOW DO WE GET IT?

FOR EXAMPLE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, MAYOR BLOOMBERG ACTUALLY REQUIRED SEX ED IN SCHOOLS BACK IN 2011.

WE DID SOME, THERE WAS SOME ANALYSIS BY COMPTROLLER STRINGER AS WELL AS MAYOR DE BLASIO TO LOOK AT THAT AND THE CHALLENGING THING IS IT HASN'T REALLY BEEN PUT INTO EFFECT.

SO THERE'S A TASK FORCE NOW THAT'S IN PLAY, THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENING AT THE CITY LEVEL TO ADDRESS THIS, AND I THINK ALL THESE ISSUES THAT ARE HAPPENING IN THE MEDIA AND OTHERWISE ARE ACTUALLY BRINGING IT TO THE FOREFRONT.

SO WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM AN EARLY AGE, LITTLE KIDS LEARNING ABOUT RESPECT AND CONTROL OVER YOUR BODY CERTAINLY, BUT JUST HOW WE TALK TO EACH OTHER, BOYS AND GIRLS ON THE PLAYGROUND TRANSLATES TO BOYS AND GIRLS IN THE BOARD ROOM.

AN ONLINE GUIDE THAT PROVIDES LOW INCOME WORKERS WITH HEALTH CARE, CHILD CARE, THINGS LIKE THAT.

TELL US ABOUT THAT IN IN THE SHORT TIME WE HAVE LEFT.

MAKING SURE YOUR CITIZENS HAVE ACCESS TO FREE AND LOW COST RESOURCES.

THIS GUIDE IS OUT THERE, WE HAVE UPDATED IT SINCE 2012, WE WORK ON IT CONSTANTLY.

COME, YOU CAN SEARCH IT, IT'S VERY SEARCHABLE, YOU CAN HAVE FEEDBACK, IF YOU WANT YOUR STUFF UP THERE.

WE ALSO HAVE A PRINT VERSION SO THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE COMPUTER ACCESS, WE'LL MAIL IT OUT.

CAROLYN, AGAIN, IT'S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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