Amanda Hess of XXfactor analyzes the progress made (and lost) since 46 of Newsweek’s female employees sued the magazine for gender discrimination in 1970:
Today’s sexist employer knows that he can no longer get away with pinching butts by the water cooler or explicitly barring women from the ladder’s highest rungs. But between clearly actionable sex discrimination and full gender equality lies an extensive menu of workplace tactics by which employers can marginalize women.
I’m starting to need a shorthand for referencing my belief that people are basically nice, and I think it probably applies here to a certain extent. On the other hand, while people certainly get conditioned by their environment, this does not absolve them of responsibility to an ethical code. Even bosses in sexist climates owe it to their female employees to do and be better.
Things never change on their own, though. Even well-motivated people need a push, a catalyst to make them take a stand and say, “No more.”