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The Sexual Harassment Reckoning

The #MeToo movement has put increasing pressure on men in power at least to acknowledge the added obstacles women face, from workplace harassment to a persistent pay gap. But acknowledgement is not enough; nor is punishing one powerful abuser at a time.

LONDON – “Deeds, not words!” Britain’s suffragettes shouted, as they fought for – and won – the right to vote 100 years ago. Today, that call to arms seems more apt than ever. For all the advances that women have made in the last century, the tendency to pay lip service to women’s rights and dignity, without doing what is necessary truly to protect them, is more obvious than ever.

In recent months, high-profile movements like #MeToo have amplified women’s voices and catalyzed others to come forward with harrowing stories of abuse, coercion, and harassment. They have publicly exposed those – from former Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein and casino mogul Steve Wynn to Oxfam employees who reportedly traded sex for aid – in positions of power who have abused, mistreated, and otherwise victimized women and girls.

Some of these figures, such as former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, have been brought to justice. Even some who failed to protect young women – including the boards of directors of USA Gymnastics and Wynn Resorts, and the president of Michigan State University, where Nassar was on the faculty – are facing the music. All of this has put increasing pressure on men in power at least to acknowledge the added obstacles women face, from workplace harassment to a persistent pay gap.

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