Is this the start of a #MeToo movement for business?

With the high-profile CBI scandal making waves in the business world, is the tide turning on workplace sexual harassment?

by Éilis Cronin

In 2006, sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke first posted the phrase “MeToo” to her MySpace profile, in a bid to raise awareness of widespread sexual abuse. Eleven years later, American actress Alyssa Milano used the hashtag in a Tweet amidst a number of accusations against disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, stating “If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet”.

This sparked a worldwide movement encouraging women to speak out about their own experiences of sexual harassment. In recent weeks, we have seen this phenomenon occur within the business world. This prompts the question, are we seeing a #MeToo movement happening in business?

Misconduct allegations

Take the CBI scandal, for instance. The Confederation of British Industry is a well-known and well-reputed organisation that claims to champion UK businesses. But just last month the institution came under fire following allegations of serious misconduct by its - now former - director general Tony Danker. Further complaints were made by more than a dozen women, who claimed to have been victims of various forms of sexual harassment by senior officials at the organisation, including rape at a CBI event.

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