3 months ago

To good men who don’t want to mentor women in #MeToo wake

(Pixabay)

 

(Opinion) I think we saw this coming.

A sharp increase in male managers say they are uncomfortable mentoring women in the wake of the sexual harassment and #MeToo movement, according to a recent study by women’s empowerment nonprofit Leanin.org and online survey tool SurveyMonkey.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings, according to LeanIn.org’s summary:

  • “Almost half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together.”
  • “Almost 30% of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a woman—more than twice as many as before.”
  • “The number of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled from 5% to 16%. This means that 1 in 6 male managers may now hesitate to mentor a woman.”
  • “Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior-level woman than with a junior-level man—and 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel for work with a junior-level woman.”

I cannot blame them.

#MeToo is an important movement and I support the brave women who have come forward, but this column isn’t about the awful behavior of bad men. It’s about the potential fallout for everyone else.

I hope good men will consciously resist an accidental backlash that would mean fewer opportunities for women. I’m glad Sheryl Sandberg is calling on men to #MentorHer despite the heightened awareness – and natural fears – surrounding #MeToo.

But I do disagree with the criticism of men who choose standards like the ‘Mike Pence Rule’, which means for the vice president that he doesn’t eat alone with women other than his wife and doesn’t attend functions with alcohol without her.

I can’t fault a man for taking precautions he thinks are necessary to protect his reputation.

Does this stink for good women with good intentions? Certainly, yes – inconvenience, feeling awkward, wishing a dynamic hadn’t been introduced that perhaps makes everyone feel suspected or on edge—I think all of that can happen when men do gymnastics not to be alone with a woman.

I’m certainly glad when men feel comfortable working with me and there’s a mutual trust-based atmosphere.

But can either of the sexes blame the other for being safe rather than sorry?

After all, would we fault a woman for walking down the street with mace at-the-ready if she perceived she was unsafe?

Would we fault her for thinking twice in the wake of #MeToo if a male coworker asked her to stop by his hotel room or office late in the evening? Whether she was in any real danger or not, we’d completely understand if she declined, regardless of how good the man’s reputation or intentions.

I think women need to offer the same grace, space and understanding to a man who keeps his door open in meetings, brings someone along to the restaurant, or is otherwise watchful of his surroundings in his encounters with women, professional or otherwise.

Women and men should support, rather than take offense or feel slighted by, someone’s boundaries. We should treat each other with the same respect we seek for our own concerns.

Take precautions. Keep your door open if you must. But men, please don’t quietly close your doors to women altogether.

I’m a pretty easygoing person, but I remember getting so furious I slammed my hand on the college cafeteria table and drew stares when I raised my voice to chew out a guy friend who cynically suggested that a male mentor of mine wasn’t helping me succeed in journalism because I earned it. Rather, he called his motives into question because “why would an older man want to mentor a younger woman?”

I was angry because even then – more than 15 years ago – I sensed that men were taking a mild risk to their reputations to mentor and help women. I felt like it was because of people like my mind-in-the-gutter friend, that male professors and professionals might think twice about the recipients of their mentorships, internships and jobs. Who wants to deal with suspicion, smirks and motive-questioning? Easier to just give opportunities and pour the time into young men, perhaps.

We should all confront such speculative gossip with righteous indignation so it is less acceptable to think the worst of anyone, male or female, without good reason.

I thank God for the key male mentors in my life who didn’t let fear of criticism affect their efforts to make unbiased, merit-based decisions about who they helped. I hope good men everywhere will take courage and hire, mentor, work with, and otherwise help and interact with women in the same good faith you would have before #MeToo.

If you’re going to leave the door open, leave all the doors open.

“A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray,” Proverbs 12:26.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

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32 mins ago

Hightower runs for Alabama governor on flat tax, term limits

State Sen. Bill Hightower is stressing his background as a businessman as he runs for governor on a sweeping platform of government overhauls that includes term limits for legislators and replacing the state income tax code with a flat tax.

The Mobile Republican says he believes long-serving politicians have become the “enemy of improvement” in Montgomery.

Hightower’s platform includes limiting legislators to three consecutive terms, establishing a flat tax income tax and ending budgetary earmarks. Legislators would have to approve the measures.

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Hightower is challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the June 5 Republican primary along with evangelist Scott Dawson and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

A relative newcomer in state politics, Hightower was first elected to the Alabama Senate in a 2013 special election.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Canary responds to YH News

In recent months, there have been ongoing and coordinated efforts to paint the Business Council of Alabama as an ineffective and financially troubled organization. These attacks are maliciously false.

Those attacking our organization for their own political purposes are resorting to extreme lengths to undermine our organization. They continue to sling one baseless attack after another and hope something sticks.

This tactic was seen in Thursday’s Yellowhammer News editorial that looked at the BCA’s 2016 IRS Form 990 and made the determination that the BCA’s financial health “could be in jeopardy.” Once again, this is a claim that is simply not true.

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In describing themselves the Yellowhammer News asserts in its Declaration: Our Philosophy. Our Principles. Our Promises…states: “We will abide by the letter and spirit of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, developing content with both integrity and perspective.” Somehow this article fell short of that pledge by distorting the facts and knowingly asserting a premise that is false.

Information on a Form 990 does not show an organization’s ongoing financial health. The BCA finished 2016 with a balanced operating budget and a surplus. The BCA has zero debt and more than one-year’s operating budget in reserves. Hardly the picture of a crumbling organization.

One must ask the question – is this election year politics at its worst? Over the last several years, the BCA has built one of the largest political war chests in the state. Legislative success happens when the right people are elected, and that’s what our political action is all about – electing pro-job candidates who understand the issues and are not afraid to step up and lead Alabama in the right direction.

As a business advocacy organization, we continue to look to the future to create a climate in Alabama for new and existing businesses to locate or expand. Past success is no guarantee, but it does demonstrate how a united business community can accomplish worthwhile goals.

As BCA Chairman Perry Hand has said, “We will not be intimidated into bad decision making.” We know all too well that when you are relevant, you put yourself in the crosshairs, and that’s exactly where we are today.

From a national platform, the BCA is Alabama’s exclusive representative to the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here in Alabama, the BCA represents the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies that include businesses of all sizes and virtually every segment of Alabama’s business community-from manufacturing to retail, agriculture to financial services and many, more. Our organization is a deliberative body guided by our by-laws and our legislative agenda that is developed by our active members of all sizes.

The BCA’s legislative agenda is adopted by our board of directors annually in advance of every legislative session and focuses on improving major areas that impact every single business in Alabama: Education/Workforce, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Regulations. Fortunately, we have a governor and legislative leaders who are focused on improving Alabama’s standing in all these areas. Just as in year’s past, we will not be deterred by election year smear tactics.

The BCA’s guiding force is as important today as when first envisioned in 1985 when the BCA was created: We work together to create a vibrant economic climate and an educated workforce. These are the keys to creating and sustaining jobs for employees and their families.

William J. Canary is the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

2 hours ago

Dawson: Statements about Gov Ivey ‘dangerous move’ that could ‘tank the election’

Scott Dawson, a Republican candidate for the governor of Alabama, criticized Gov. Kay Ivey and a state agency last week, for funding that went to an Alabama based LGBTQ non-profit organization. Since then, it seems as if the gubernatorial race in Alabama has been turned upside down.

In his statement Tuesday, Dawson said, “Let me be clear. The Ivey administration has betrayed Alabama values by giving nearly one million dollars of taxpayer dollars to Free2Be, an activist organization which promotes transgenderism and alternate lifestyles to Alabama’s children.”

ADECA, which administers the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was responsible for the allocation of funds to Free2Be.

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According to ADECA, Free2Be has received nearly $1.7 million in grants from ADECA since September 2014.

Ivey responded to Dawson’s statements while at a luncheon in Tuscaloosa saying, “That’s nonsense.”

“I certainly don’t agree with the agenda or the values of that organization. The funding is federal funding. It’s been going on since 2014. There are no Alabama tax dollars involved,” Ivey told reporters.

When a reporter questioned Ivey on whether or not she was upset, Ivey responded, “Do I look upset?”

“Lookie here, he’s all over the board,” Ivey said. “He’s not getting any traction. He’s low in the polls. He’s three weeks away from the election. He’s getting desperate.”

Ivey is correct. When personal attacks are being hurled toward a rival, it signals desperation. And desperation this is. I was honestly shocked that Dawson would come forward with such bold accusations towards Ivey.

When a candidate is this close to the election, statements like these, that aren’t backed with sufficient and thorough investigation, should not be made.

During an appearance on Yellowhammer Radio’s “The Wake Up Call with Baylor and Hannah”, Dawson was questioned on his statements regarding the funding that is awarded to Free2Be.

“When we found it, we were like this just doesn’t look right, doesn’t look like it needs to be there,” Dawson said. “That’s when we started investigating the organization.”

Dawson reminded the audience that his intent in bringing up the funds was to warrant transparency for the state of Alabama.

He said, “This is just a statement about transparency. We need to make sure we know where our money is going, that we know why we are taking money, and how in the world these folks get $800,000 from ADECA.”

While I echo the statements Dawson makes here about transparency and ensuring that Alabamians know where their tax dollars are being spent, I must say that only a miniscule amount of research would have shown that ADECA grants are federally funded and in no way utilize tax payer dollars.

In closing the interview, Dawson said, “Quite honestly, you know, it was a dangerous move because it could just tank the election. I am just being forthright with you, but Alabama needs to know what’s going on in Alabama government.”

I think his comments did cost him the election. While I have great respect for Scott Dawson, I believe his coming forward with these statements was foolish. A lack of knowledge and research can really hurt you on the campaign trail and we are witnessing this right now.

It’s difficult for a GOP gubernatorial candidate to unseat a GOP incumbent who has, for the most part, had a good track record.

I understand the motive behind Dawson’s statements. That organization does not represent what most Alabamians see fit for a way of life. I just wish Dawson had gone about things differently and spent more time looking into the matter.

Dawson, along with everyone else running for office in America, should learn that research and getting the facts straight goes a long way. While it may be too late for Dawson, others should learn of the danger of proposing baseless investigations.

Ivey, who has received endorsement from the NRA, has shied from the public eye over the past few months. When you have a good track record as the head of Alabama, you can do these types of things. Since taking office, Gov. Ivey has not had a largely negative conflict.

Ivey’s objective in this election is to ride out her past successes in hopes of another four years as Alabama’s CEO and it might just work, so long as the unsubstantiated claims continue to be tossed her way.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and host of The Weekend Briefing that airs noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 101.1 WDYE

2 hours ago

Any politician not calling for a special session on school security is committing political malpractice

The most predictable thing in America is that we will have another school shooting soon. We don’t know where it will be, but it is coming.

Every delay in addressing these issues is another day closer to more dead kids, and an eventual mass casualty event in Alabama. We can talk about hardening targets via new construction, and limiting access to guns until we are blue in the face, but these things are either expensive or not happening.

Every politician in a heated race in Alabama should be calling for a special session on school safety. State Representative and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth is right on track with a real solution:

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“Every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama, so the governor would be wise to call a special session this summer,” Ainsworth said.  “Signs reading ‘Gun Free Zone’ are a magnet for those who wish to do harm, so we must provide teachers with the training, knowledge, and ability to defend their students with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil.”

Of course there is an ad as well:

Why this matters: This is good politics and good policy. The people have decided on this. The media can pretend all they want that people are torn on this, but they are not. Americans, and Alabamians especially, understand that there is nothing stopping shooters from walking into their kids’ school today and shooting it up. The idea that allowing teachers to carry makes a child less safe is laughable, the teacher willing to do harm is not stopped by a gun-free zone. Good teachers with guns, however, are following the law and the law is protecting school shooters.

The details:

— 69 percent of Republicans are in favor of allowing teachers to carry.

— 78 percent of parents would feel more safe, or just as safe, with their child’s teacher being armed.

— The media is lying and saying there have been 22 school shootings in 2018. They include accidental discharge of a firearm in their count.

— As of May 8th, Gov. Kay Ivey had not ruled out a special session, but she has not responded to Ainsworth’s call.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

3 hours ago

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ theme too offensive for school prom

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a “Party Like It’s 1776” theme at prom.

Dr. Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision “insensitive and irresponsible,” reported Fox News.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” Perry wrote in a statement.

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To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event — they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a “commemorative” ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a “diverse group of people” would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination, in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture “where African American students’ needs are not considered along with the rest of the school,” but mentioned that he appreciated Perry’s speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

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