women in travel
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Nov 06, 2017
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Speak out… speak up

There are men who will listen… and support you...


Bob Mowat

[Ed.’s note: Sexual harassment has been a topic of discussion in the travel trade media, at cocktail receptions and at other industry events of late. While the conversation has focused on the travel industry specifically, this is a behaviour that crosses all boundaries and, sadly, is one of the darker characteristics of the human condition. In this week’s issue of CTP, executive editor, Bob Mowat offers his personal comments on the issue.]

I truly wish that I could snap my fingers and make things all right. But I can’t. On the other hand:
• I can listen.
• I can understand.
• I can be supportive.
• I can encourage.

And, I can try to express why the persecution of a woman (or women) in a professional setting – well actually, in any setting – is wrong. There’s no grey here.
• No acceptable excuses.
• No extenuating circumstances.
• No reasonable explanations.
• Nothing – it’s wrong.

Anyone – whether by word or deed – who puts a woman in a position where they have to deal with unwanted advances or who puts them in a position where they feel threatened for their physical safety crosses the line.
And I believe that you can apply that dictum to any kind of persecution that you see in the world today – from schoolyard bullying to racial persecution to religious persecution to the persecution of people for their sexual orientation – in each and every instance, it’s wrong.
• There’s no grey here.
• No acceptable excuses.
• No extenuating circumstances.
• No reasonable explanations.
• Nothing – it’s wrong.

Unfortunately, there are many who do believe that there are acceptable excuses; extenuating circumstances; reasonable explanations and that life is grey.
Lines are blurred and people are led astray by specious arguments that lead off into discussions of how men feel victimized and are forced to watch every word they say to a woman.
If you are in a professional environment – at a meeting, a cocktail reception, a conference, at the office, or wherever – you behave respectfully.
You govern your conversation based on that environment.
You also govern your conversation based on who you’re talking to and what kind of relationship you have with that person – be they a man or a woman.
It’s pretty simple.
I grew up with the Women’s Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the issues they were fighting for have become part of how I see the world.
I accept them. I believe in them. And I certainly don’t feel threatened by them.
I want to leave you with a quote from Audre Lorde – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audre_Lorde – a Caribbean-American writer and activist of that period – that I find breathtakingly powerful:
“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
So speak out… because there are men who are listening…
[Ed.’s note: you can visit the links below for more on the key women’s issues of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as some memorable quotes:
https://www.bustle.com/articles/157611-8-feminist-quotes-from-the-1960s-that-are-still-relevant-today ]
Plus here are a couple of links from the present… CBC ran a story last week about Nicole Stamp and a list she has created to help men do better. Definitely worth the read. And the link to her Facebook page – with the full list – is also included.
CBC Story link – http://www.cbc.ca/radio/nowornever/turning-the-metoo-movement-into-action-1.4368258/nicole-stamp-has-a-few-ways-men-can-do-better-1.4373569
Facebook link – https://www.facebook.com/nicole.stamp/posts/10156116595689341