#MeToo in the Corporate World
Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward
Economist and award-winning author Sylvia Ann Hewlett blends vivid stories with powerful new data in assessing the impact of the #MeToo movement in corporate America and provides concrete action to help executives and companies create more inclusive and safe work environments for women, people of color, and LGBTQ employees.
While the #MeToo movement has exposed the enormous harm done by sexual misconduct in the workplace, the movement’s full promise has not been fulfilled, Sylvia Ann Hewlett argues. Showcasing new data on the incidence of sexual harassment and assault at work, she reveals how the movement has focused almost exclusively on white women and failed to support other vulnerable groups who are also targets of abuse. Black men, gay men and women, and Latinas experience particularly high rates of sexual harassment and assault.
In addition to exploring the movement’s limitations, Hewlett examines the collateral damage inflicted by #MeToo. She looks at hits to the bottom line (lawsuits and settlements, tarnished brands, and stock devaluations) and hits to the talent pipeline. In particular she shows how male leaders, fearful of gossip and legal action, are increasingly skittish about sponsoring young women, no matter how high performing they are. This makes it much more likely that women will stall out mid-career and will deprive companies of diversity in the C-Suite and “gender smarts” around decision-making tables. Digging deep into examples that range from Fox News, Nike, and Google to CBS, Michigan State University, and the Catholic Church, Hewlett lays bare the financial losses associated with sexual misconduct scandals. No wonder corporate chief risk officers newly have #MeToo in their line of sight!
A third of this book is devoted to solutions and Hewlett offers a three-pronged strategy, combining legal remedies with individual and corporate action steps that can be used to protect employees and businesses they work for. Drawing from companies as different as IBM and IPG she discusses “experiments at the edge” as well as more evolved initiatives that can help any corporation create a more equitable and safer environment.
Praise For #MeToo in the Corporate World: Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward…
— Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact
“Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s powerful new book explains how and why the #MeToo movement is challenging corporate America. Compelling, compassionate - and hard to put down - it makes the case that combating sexual misconduct and striving for inclusion are not only the just things to do, they are essential if organizations are to survive and thrive. Particularly valuable are Hewlett’s concrete action steps for individuals and corporations. This book will shape how leaders think about and deal with sexual misconduct for years to come.”
— Hon. Barbara Jones, former judge in the US District Court for the Southern District and special counsel to the archdiocese of NY with regard to accusations of sexual abuse
"A bold and urgent call to action for individuals, leaders, and corporations on one of the most significant movements of our time. Hewlett presents a compelling business imperative and a range of solutions to ensure that meritocracy, equality, diversity, and inclusion are rigorously embedded within an institution’s culture."
— Jyoti Chopra, senior vice president and chief diversity and sustainability officer, MGM Resorts International
“With this incredible addition to her oeuvre, Hewlett proves— again—that she belongs in the pantheon of thought leaders that drive transformational change, helping companies tackle the toughest challenges. She digs into the hardest layers of #MeToo to undercover hidden pockets of pain that don’t make the front pages.”
— Todd Sears, CEO and founder, Out Leadership
“This is a brave and important book, filled with personal stories and rich data. Hewlett reveals that junior, white, straight women are far from being the only victims of sexual misconduct, and that power—not sexual desire—is at the root of the problem. Once you start reading this book, you won’t stop.”
— Victoria Bateman, the Iain Macpherson Lecturer in Economics at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University
“#MeToo in the Corporate World adds a critical dimension to conversations about sexual misconduct and gender equity. Hewlett documents how widespread the abuse of power is, the growing costs to employers, and the imperative for change. Now is the moment for corporations to take action.”
— Lorraine Hariton, CEO and president, Catalyst
“Brave and powerful. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the ‘mother’ of modern leadership theory, offers practical ways of dismantling the privilege that has kept diverse talent on the periphery. Her analysis of the objectification and sexual harassment of black men in the workplace, and the resulting shame and emasculation they suffer, is particularly prescient.”
— India Gary-Martin, principal, Leadership for Life, and former managing director, JPMorgan Chase
Harper Business, 9780062899194, 256pp.
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
About the Author
Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation, a Manhattan-based think tank where she chairs a task force of eighty-two multinational companies focused on fully realizing the new streams of labor in the global marketplace. Her book Forget a Mentor: Find a Sponsor was named one of the ten best business books of 2013 and won the Axiom Book Award.