Aviation for Women

MAR-APR 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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74 AviationforWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 My Six-Step Checklist D E V A N A . N O R R I S T here is an epidemic of stories about sex- ual harassment in the news right now. There is #MeToo, #TimesUp, and a tidal wave of testimonials dating back years and even decades flooding our national aware- ness. If we look into our memories, a number of us can identify an event in our own profes- sional past that falls somewhere on the spec- trum of hara ssment. ( See Patricia Luebke's Personal Development column on Page 76.) Perhaps it was just a remark that went past in- sensitive into the realm of truly offensive; per- haps it was an actual physical assault. While it is easy to identify a past offense, it is harder to look back at our own reactions and feel content and justified. We need to examine our own be- haviors and make sure while we are examining the actions of others we personally are not do- ing anything that someone else would consider inappropriate. I do not mean to depreciate the ordeal that any one of us may have gone through. Even so, in those memories it is clear that we were not al- ways adequately trained to prevent harassment or to defend ourselves from an attack of this na- ture. We—as women and as aviators—need to create an aviation culture that is toxic to the ha- rassment paradigm. When an airplane accident is investigated, the root cause is examined to see if there are procedures or behaviors that need to be changed. When a poor procedure is identified, everyone needs to make the change together to make the sky safer for all of us. How we have han- dled harassment in the past is overdue for an up- dated procedure. I've put together a list of suggested steps you could take in the event of harassment. However, an important one to start with is learning what tools, actions, and resources we may already have available to use. Just like a checklist, those steps can also include identifying what we do next after something has gone wrong. 1. React When harassment occurs, stop the behavior in its tracks by saying something that calls the ha- rasser out then and there. Tell him or her that his or her behavior is outside of your personal lim- its, start discussing your company's sexual ha- rassment policy, or introduce a topic equally indicative of your mindset. There are few who will not take the hint. Words are our best weap- on, but speaking up can be difficult and takes courage—especially if it has been ineffective in the past. While no does indeed mean no, phrases like "knock it off" and "cut it out" are simply too vague and might be misinterpreted. If we can de- velop a vocabulary that both the aggressors and we will recognize as the line beyond which a legal action could take place, we can make some real inroads into nipping potential harassment inci- dents in the bud. 2. Remove Remove yourself from the situation. Find an- other person as soon as possible. If you remain alone, you remain vulnerable. 3. Record Whether you say something or not, document the incident as soon as you can. Write down what happened should you need to refer to the incident later on in a conversation with your union, human resources, or a lawyer. 4. Report There is no need to handle this on your own. Pi- lots unions and airlines have resources for report- ing and filing a complaint clearly published that we can turn to when the need arises. In fact, any employer with more than 15 employees is cov- ered by Title VII—www.WorkplaceFairness.org is a good website to gain a greater understanding of your protections under the law. Learn what re- sources your company offers and share that in- formation with others. 5. Recruit Aviation is still predominantly masculine for pi- lots, mechanics, and engineers, but not for flight attendants who receive some of the most outra- geous abuses imaginable. Include your fellow crewmembers from every work group and any gender, and encourage them to report harass- ment whether it happens to or is observed by them. Tell your male co-workers how they can protect the women in their own lives by discour- aging inappropriate behavior, and ask them to speak up when they see it. It is important that we foster our own culture of personal and professional integrity and respect to create an environment that will be better for us as well as those who come after us— and not just wait for management or media reporting to make the problem go away. I N T H E P U S H

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