I AM NOT KIDDING…
The connection request came through LinkedIn and I accepted. The gentleman reached out and introduced himself. Hello… What do you do…? That kind of stuff.
Then the conversation started to turn. The message pings began to come so quickly that it seemed more like conversing with a friend than a new acquaintance. And then, the first question that gave away what he was ACTUALLY interested in: “Where are YOU located?”
Me: My BUSINESS is located Los Angeles.
Him: Great, me too. Let’s go and have coffee sometime?
I slammed the laptop closed. What the heck? Again? How many of these unwanted advances on LinkedIn, a PROFESSIONAL network, do I—do women—have to endure?
So I got pretty upset and wrote a Beate-style status update on LinkedIn. It went viral. At the time of writing this, about 2,000,000 people have read my status update. (You, too, can read it and the ensuing comments here.)
This is my synopsis of what I learned from the comments:
- I am sad to say that I am not the only woman this has happened to. Thousands reached out and said ME TOO.
- I am outraged to say that about 20% of the men who responded deny this is a problem. They seemed to gloss over the thousands of people who ‘liked’ the update and the hundreds of women who agreed it is a big issue.
- I am grateful to tell you that 80% of men who commented are aware of the unwanted approaches toward women. They have honor and ethics, and quite a few even defended me.
As for the other 20% of men, there seemed to be three kinds of negative male responses:
- The blamers and victim shamers who suggest that women need to dress or act a certain way so we don’t encourage men to behave the way they do. One man even went so far as to say we should wear burkas—or at least not the red dress I am wearing in my headshot!
- The diverters who cannot have a conversation about anything other than themselves. There are many men who do not acknowledge the conversation we women are having. Meaning, that although I shared a personal experience that thousands of women have experienced as well, some men feel compelled to divert it to something that is also happening to men (hence why do I make such a big deal about it?)
- The ignorants who say it is an issue, but don’t want to talk about it and suggest I’d better move on with my life because it just is what it is. (Read more about ignorant men in an article I recently wrote.)
The 80% of men who are supportive of women’s issue are:
- The cheerleaders who congratulated me for raising the issue and who encourage women to share our workplace problems because they want to help fix them. They have daughters, wives, and sisters and they get it.
- The blindsided who heard of this for the very first time and are shocked to learn this has been going on without their knowledge.
- The converted who first made a snazzy or challenging comment that I should provide proof that this is really going on. Then after our exchange, they became cheerleaders.
There is so much material in that one status update it will keep me writing about this for a while. Next will be how women respond.
Which type of men do you encounter most often?
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.