The Zero Now Campaign™ promotes zero tolerance for sexual misconduct in the workplace, spearheads practical but powerful reforms that will produce lasting change, and facilitates the active involvement of our best organizations to help survivors resume careers through our Hire Us Back™ initiative.
It is a campaign that is clearly overdue.
Sexual misconduct in the workplace has been a cause of systemic injustice and indignity long before the recent spike of headline-grabbing revelations that witnessed the toppling of iconic figures in entertainment, broadcasting and politics. We sympathize with the women who have been wronged by men who thought they were larger than life and immune from both society’s moral conventions and the law. What is surprising, however, is not that these improprieties have actually occurred; it is the media’s apparent shock that such conduct exists. They haven’t spent much time in the everyday workplace.
The misconduct of celebrity rogues and the impact on their victims is only the tip of the iceberg. What happens to the rest of us, as we collide with sexual miscreants in the workplace each and every day, IS the iceberg. And we don’t have CNN to back us up, nor can we rely on crusading reporters and headlines to hold our bosses to account for their wrongdoing. As too many of us have discovered, if our offenders are not high-profile figures, neither the media nor even major women’s groups are interested.
Not surprisingly, public outrage has been slow to pick up the cause of the women who are typically voiceless and faceless, to show empathy for our career-shattering experiences or to demand fundamental workplace changes to protect us. Even with the arrival of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, there have been few ideas that will bring about the systemic change that is necessary to make the workplace safer. Fewer still have focused on the needs of the women who have been forced to abandon careers, or prevented from pursuing them, because we spoke out and now face financial and personal desolation. What is to be done for our broken lives and wrecked careers?
The scale of the numbers shows the scope of the problem. Polls reveal that one in two women between 18 and 49 say they have experienced sexual harassment on the job. A study cited by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that in 75 percent of those cases, the victims never report the incident. Fear of retaliation, of being labeled as a troublemaker and of causing irreparable harm to one’s career are chief among the reasons for this reluctance.
Read more about The Zero Now Campaign’s™ mission and call for action. They illustrate our efforts to make a real difference in the lives of the forgotten women in the everyday workplace that lasts beyond the current flurry of headlines and scandals. Let us know if you’d like to help.
Career ostracism and reprisals are an almost universal consequence of confronting sexual harassment, according to a number of international studies. I’ve talked with many women about their experiences of being estranged figures in the workplace today. Frustration, financial horrors, and depression are common outcomes.
—Kathleen Finlay, founder, The Zero Now Campaign™, writing in The Huffington Post, 2012
I should have stood up for them. I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.
—Yvette Vega, Executive Producer, The Charlie Rose Show, on turning a blind eye to repeated reports of sexual misconduct by Rose, 2017
Here’s what will happen: You will become the person who complained. You’ll become a pariah. All of your good reviews will become perfectly average reviews, which will then become bad reviews. And then eventually — not immediately — you will be let go for some reason, if you haven’t been worn out and already quit.
—Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist, on dealing with the realities of sexual harassment in the workplace, 2017