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People just can’t seem to stop talking about sexual harassment. And all this talk doesn’t seem to be helping to reduce the number of reported incidents. Each news story about the latest man to be accused of sexual misconduct against a woman in the workplace seems to open a new floodgate to more stories. While most can agree gender equality in the workplace has slowly improved over time, we still have a long way to go when it comes to stopping incidents of harassment before they start.

Back in the “Mad Men”-era days, when all workplace decision-makers were men who could sip on scotch and smoke cigarettes at their desks while giving their female secretaries menial tasks to complete around the office, gender roles in the workplace were defined and pretty much accepted. Based on stories my mom has told me about her on-the-job experiences in New York City in the early 1970s, women were valued more for their looks than their expertise, men openly made inappropriate comments about their female employees, and nobody did anything about it. And the behavior began before the women even stepped foot in a workplace. In a job interview for a flight attendant position, mom was asked to step on a scale to see if she was “within the accepted weight range.” In another example, one of mom’s girlfriends was interviewed in a bar and offered an office position without being asked about her qualifications.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha has served as an editor for CU Times since March 2015. She also served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer for more than 14 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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