Deborah Pead, Founder

Duty of Care

Today I called a person out for their needless humiliation of someone I care about.

In response I was told that the person, who was falsely accused, should simply suck it up, and that it was “one of the lumps of the job.”

No apology offered, no regret, no empathy, no second thoughts. Just an arrogant, narcissistic reply.

And no surprises the uncaring response came from an ageing industry misogynist whose views and dismissive attitude belong in the dark ages.

In the early days of my career I was surrounded by such vileness. Men who fed their self-importance on being tough, uncaring and downright rude to women, and occasionally to the men who they perceived to be weaker than themselves.  And it wasn’t just the dismissive attitude that repulsed me,  I was disgusted by their body language,  especially the intimidating posture of the ‘man spread “ as they tried to assert their superiority. And spare me the BS about splayed legs being a response to testicular heat stress. It’s nothing less than neanderthal dominance, and one gene removed from beating a hairy chest.

Fortunately, my mother taught me how to say eff-off, and I was not easily intimidated, unlike many talented female colleagues who sadly for our industry, parked their careers along the way.

Thankfully we have made some progress in the workplace. I can see the changes around me – we are evolving as a society and more men regard emotions such as kindness and empathy and understanding as signs of strength, not weakness.  

I thought we were well on the road to addressing gender equality. So I was floored when I read the results of the survey at Christchurch Girls High School which sadly told us that of the 725 survey respondents more than a quarter said they had been sexually harassed more than 10 times and more than 20 students say they have been raped.

Just what are we teaching our sons? Misogynistic behaviour, physical harassment and a dismissive attitude towards women starts in the home. These attitudes can have a sustained impact on the victim, on society and on our economy. It eventually translates into long lasting occupational segregation and pay gaps between women and men.

As a society we need to take a collective stand against misogynistic behaviour and gender inequality. We all have a role to play, at home, in places of learning, in policy making and the workplace.

We have a duty of care to each other, and it starts with calling out and correcting bad behaviour.

So, to the grumpy industry dinosaur who considered me pathetic for standing up for someone today; Shame on You.

Deborah Pead

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