Category Archives: Of Women

About and For Women

Sexual Harassment on the Road – by Terry Howard

“Oh, oh…traveling alone on business…with her!”

Another day, another sexual harassment complaint against a high profile man. Will all this result in a chilling effect on the organization in which some men in power will be reluctant to hire or promote women? Will women and men – men in particular – find themselves now reluctant to travel on business with women? With these questions in mind, I decided to repost an article I wrote a while back about questions from  one of my  listening tours:

“Terry, tell me what concerns many men the most when traveling alone with a single woman on company business. How do men of Muslim or Pakistani or Saudi backgrounds deal with this issue from a cultural or religious perspective? What advice would you offer women and men who may have concerns about this?”

I puzzled over her questions then decided to seek answers from a cross section of people in my global network, male and female.

Here’s what they shared:

“Terry, my only concern is that when I travel alone with a woman, which I do often, do I sometimes come across as patronizing or over-protective of her, particularly in some parts of the world where women may be viewed as less equal, or in some cases where safety may be an issue?”

“I recall a situation where I traveled overseas with a male colleague. We were both married. I heard from others that he would avoid having lunch with just a female colleague on a work day, so I knew he would be sensitive about the issue. We both took extra care to avoid any situation that may be misconstrued or misinterpreted by ourselves or by others. I can be a touchy feely person sometimes with friends, but I made sure to keep an extra distance between us to avoid making us both uncomfortable. I believe he did as well. It was a successful trip despite his initial discomfort with traveling with a woman. I think awareness of the issue comes first and taking steps to put the other person at ease is next.”

“With my Pakistani background, I totally understand the dilemma Muslim men might face and do agree that there are measures you can take that will ensure that the integrity of your relationship is maintained. Many Muslim men and women do not shake hands with the opposite sex. I do not hold this too strongly. I respect women who choose not to shake hands with me.”

“Traveling with a woman depends on whether you are a single man and not in a committed relationship. It also depends on the other person and how secure they are. I know we are talking about business, but I have yet to see someone totally separate the business and social when traveling together. We are relational and emotional beings by nature, but experience and maturity helps us manage both. In case some didn’t know, men are just as emotional as women. We were trained from an early age to manage and manifest our emotions differently. Nothing wrong with that.

At some point during the trip the conversation won’t be all just about business. However, most men are not equipped to handle conversations that venture beyond “How about them Cowboys”. Let’s be real. We men like sometimes sharing a cab, breakfast, lunch and dinner with someone. I can say the same for some women as well. Men are stimulated by what we see, touch, feel, taste, etc. That is why most of us like sports and other interactive activities.

I will also share that most men and women in a secure relationship are not as bothered by traveling with a single person of the opposite sex. The relationship you have with the person before the trip can make a difference in comfort level as well. The more you know about each other helps create a more plutonic relationship.

Lastly, from a religious perspective, as in a Christian perspective, men and women are advised to avoid the appearance of mis-conduct. Unfortunately, we live in a time when chaste behavior in not the norm, thus, for most people of faith, your putting yourself in a position that appears to be compromising is a big deal. Many on-lookers assume the worst before the best. “

“A lot of this depends on corporate culture and effectively navigating situations given your own boundaries as well as the expected norms of the corporate culture. For example, at my company we tend to be a very touchy feely culture and hug a lot. If the culture is more congenial, it helps to be absolutely clear on what your boundaries are because women and men are programmed differently.

“One thing not addressed is the “fear of” factors. Today I do believe women are more willing to stand up to an inappropriate comment, gesture or innuendo; however, there may be times in a person’s career (man or women) where they feel pressured from a career standpoint to “go along.” If you don’t feel strong enough to say something we head down the pathway with warning signs. I believe it’s possible that men and women can, with the best of intentions, end up here out of one of two emotions – fear for their career progression or desire to achieve in their career.

As a long time HR practitioner, I’ve seen both. The other issue, especially for men, is the litigious fear factor – fear of something they say or do being misinterpreted or misrepresented in a complaint about their behavior, or of being sued and having their name and reputation destroyed. Most of this comes down to not knowing how to have open and real conversations at work. I am a subscriber to “when in doubt, don’t” as it relates to subjects like these.”

Some tips for consideration:

  • Get to know the person you will travel with prior to the trip.
  • If you are married or have a relationship with another, make sure you tell them who you are traveling with and keep them in the loop during the trip.
  • If you are uncomfortable or have some religious tenants that forbid traveling with someone of the opposite sex, make separate arrangements and let the other person know when you can meet to discuss the business of the trip.
  • Avoid private meals together in your room or in dimly lit restaurants.
  • If you get uncomfortable with the conversation, talk about how much your wife or girlfriend would love to be there with you sharing the sights, or tell them a pleasant story about your relationship.
  • If you really feel uncomfortable, check out alternatives for traveling with another person.

You Are a Woman: Exploring the Mandate – by Lydia Taylor

Think like a woman, talk like a woman, walk like a woman because the mandate is ‘You Are a Woman’.  But how do I accomplish this?
In my previous article, I shared how I heard the words ‘You are a Woman’ during a time of prayer and meditation. In my pursuit of their relevance, I concluded that these words are not simply to confirm gender, but are a mandate urging women to make a difference in their communities and in the world. In that article, the reader is encouraged to discover how they may make an impact that will advance society and elevate those in their individual sphere of influence, whether great or small.

Continue reading You Are a Woman: Exploring the Mandate – by Lydia Taylor

Alison Gerber:  Editor of The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Chattanooga
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd
Alison Gerber. August 2, 2016.

Ms. Gerber is Editor and Director of Content at Chattanooga’s daily newspaper, The Times Free Press. She manages a newsroom of 75 people who produce a daily newspaper, three magazines, and five weekly community newspapers. Alison serves on the boards of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Associated Press Media Editors.

The newspaper recently launched an initiative proposed by the Mayor’s Council for Women in partnership with Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute (CWLI) where prominent women in the community contribute articles to the business section. The Times Free Press has been recognized with awards including the Tennessee Press Association’s top honor for the past three years. The paper was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in three of the last five years.

 CLICK below for Podcast…

The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). 

The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.

Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.

Continue reading The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

The Politics of ‘the angry black Sistah’! – by Terry Howard

Other than race (black) and gender (female), what else do April Ryan, Maxine Waters, Joy Ann Reid and Angela Rye have in common?

The answer? They’re smart as heck, forceful in expressing their politics and views, and more than able to defend themselves against disrespect. You see, while others (yes, men, this also includes many of you too) sit in silence these powerful women won’t hesitate to hit back despite the potential for being tagged “An Angry Black Woman.” (If you’re unfamiliar with these women Google them before reading further.)

Continue reading The Politics of ‘the angry black Sistah’! – by Terry Howard

Lean In History for Women’s History Month – by Deborah Levine

Is women’s history and Women’s History Month still relevant today? Is the need for sisterhood activism over as some say? We look back at the first group to advocate for women’s right to vote nationally and see that it was ultimately successful. The Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention was held long ago in1848. But the words of its organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton still hold true and yet are still controversial, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

Continue reading Lean In History for Women’s History Month – by Deborah Levine

You Are a Woman, A New Mandate for Today’s Social Climate – by Lydia Taylor

Like many of you, it is my practice to prepare for the day with quiet meditation and prayer. It was during such a time that I heard the words ‘you are a woman’ within my spirit. At the time, I had no idea of the relevance of that statement; but thought its interpretation must be a mystery well beyond female gender. Surely, there must be some deep meaning in those words. After all, they came during a time of meditation and prayer. But what could it be and why were those words given in the late summer of 2016? I had no idea, and tucked the words away in my memory to reflect on them at another time.

Continue reading You Are a Woman, A New Mandate for Today’s Social Climate – by Lydia Taylor

2017 Goals: Diversity – by Deborah Levine

As we begin 2017, the results of the U.S. presidential election are rippling through the national consciousness. Not surprisingly, there is much discussion on the fate of diversity advocacy in the community and in business. The economics of diverse communities, particularly regarding race, gender, and generation have become a daily issue for news reporting. Debate over Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the workplace is a natural extension of the discussion. Opinions range from D&I as a failure to D&I as more necessary than ever. Here are the vision and goals of diversity advocates followed by comments by D&I consultants. Together, they demonstrate a determination and renewed passion for both a diverse society and the diverse workplace.

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The Women March … AGAIN – by Deborah Levine

The 2017 Million Women March on Washington approaches, along with about 30 sister marches around the country, including in New York City. It’s been forty-seven years since I marched down 5th Ave. for the Women’s Movement. Why did I go when my goal for that trip to Manhattan was to find a job? Entering an employment agency, I insisted on sitting at the men’s table rather than with the women who were required to take a typing test. When my persistence was met with a threat to call the police to eject me, I made my way to 5th Ave. and joined the March.

Continue reading The Women March … AGAIN – by Deborah Levine

My Contra-cultural Marriage and Religious Chaos — by Micki Pelusi

It’s 1959. I’m a Southern religious teenage girl raised on the fire and brimstone of the Baptist Church. My boyfriend is a second generation Italian Catholic. My mother, recently divorced from my step-father, transforms from a “Betty Crocker’ housewife into a bird set free from a gilded cage.  This turn of events leads to her elopement with one of her many men friends to Elkton, Maryland. Butch and I go along as witnesses. After spending the night in her Buick at the A&P parking lot, waiting for the courthouse to open, we finally walk out of the wide court doors—married—all four of us. Mom and Sal drive off to Florida, I move in with a girlfriend and Butch goes back to his home, as if nothing stupendous happened.

Continue reading My Contra-cultural Marriage and Religious Chaos — by Micki Pelusi