Towards A More Equal Workplace: #WhatNext?

ILR Women’s Caucus summit to focus on workplace sexual misconduct
Monday, March 5, 2018

As part of the ILR Women’s Caucus mission to advance gender equality in the workplace, its annual “Towards a More Equal Workplace” summit will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Room 423 of the ILR Conference Center, King-Shaw Hall.

During the past five months, the news has been flooded with reports of sexual harassment and public responses, such as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. More and more individuals have been coming forward to share their harassment experiences. The goal of this event is to move from words and hashtags to action and dialogue.

“The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have sparked a crucial dialogue that, in turn, brought about a sense of collective urgency in addressing the sexual harassment and abuse that pervades women's lives, both within and outside of the workplace,” said Sue Ahn ’18, president of the Women’s Caucus.

“Doing so brought about an incredible momentum and mobilizing drive; however, words remain simply those—just words,” Ahn said. “The 2018 Towards a More Equal Workplace summit will address "what’s next?" with invaluable insights from leading professionals within their fields, expert ILR faculty and a next steps workshop for undergraduates.”

The workshop will generate discussion with tough questions on how to tackle a variety of issues women face throughout their personal and professional careers.

Alumnae panelist and keynote speaker Carolyn D. Richmond ’91, a partner at Fox Rothschild with an expertise is discrimination and employment law, says she also hopes this event will move us beyond the hashtags.

“Harassment is an incredibly complex issue that encompasses far more than gender. While power is a key component, it’s also defined by other socioeconomic and cultural issues in the workplace that make this more than just a women’s issue.”

“We have a lot to talk about and the ILR School is the perfect place to start the conversation. I hope that our panel illuminates for the students many of the changes that have occurred in the workplace over the decades, as well as those things that have not changed.”

Senior lecturer at the ILR School, Liz Karns M.P.H., J.D., will also present her research on the economic consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace and how it impacts the trajectory of one’s career and workplace culture.

The summit is free and open to the Cornell community. It will focus on these issues, and on what can be done to lead change. Registration is required. Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to discuss the challenges that women face in the workplace and to identify best practices for creating all-inclusive environments.

ILR Alumni Affairs and Development is sponsoring the summit, which has the following agenda:

12-1 p.m.: Luncheon for ILR students, alumnae, faculty and staff

1-2:30 p.m.: Alumnae panel discussion — “Generational Perspectives on Sexual Misconduct and Harassment at Work”

Panelists include:

  • Carolyn D. Richmond ’91, partner, Fox Rothschild LLP
  • Gayle Yeomans ’71, former first vice president, State Government Affairs, New York Life Insurance Co.
  • Carole Rapp Thompson ’56, former director of general Services, United Nations
  • Lauren D. Myers ’97, head of People Ops

2:45-3:30 p.m.    M. Elizabeth Karns, M.P.H., J.D. — “The Hidden Costs of Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace”

3:30-4:30 p.m.    Next Steps workshop — “Finding Your Individual Voice and Collective Voice for Change”