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How ‘Slut’ and ‘Sweetie’ Challenge Gender Equity

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and recognize women’s contributions to society as well as the progress of the women’s-rights movement. But after more than 150 years, is true gender equity finally within reach?

As shown in DiversityInc’s Women’s History Month timeline and facts, women have made considerable progress since the beginnings of the women’s-rights movement in 1857. Yet women innovators, political activists and other gender-equality pioneers have largely gone unrecognized. It’s something that our nation’s numerous women’s-history museums are striving to change.

Here, DiversityInc provides a selection of our top resources that highlight the need for continued awareness for gender-diversity issues, as well as research and best practices for including and promoting women in business. Also read The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women for a list of the best flexible workplaces with strong talent development for women.

When Words Hinder Progress:

Is This the End of Rush Limbaugh? Advertisers Flee Show
The radio host receives explosive backlash after his misogynistic “slut” comment goes viral. He learns that in today’s social-media world, negative reactions are swift.

Is Professor’s ‘Hi, Sweetie’ Comment Sexual Harassment?
Did this university overreact when a professor called the department chair “sweetie” and chucked her chin?

Update on Giant Walmart Gender-Disparity Case, Plus Sex, Age & Disability Discrimination
Was “Good riddance, b—-!” sexual harassment when a male coworker shouted this to a female financial adviser who had just resigned? Read this and other discrimination cases.

Things NEVER to Say to Women Executives
Before you make that harmless little comment to the woman in the next office, take a look at things you should never say to a female executive or coworker. 

Best Practices:

How Women Benefit From Mentoring, Sponsorship
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ chief diversity officer provides seven ways women can take charge and start advancing their careers. 

How Kraft Increased Promotions of Women in Sales by 39%
In one of 12 case-study examples, Kraft shares how to leverage employee-resource groups to increase representation of women, especially in senior management.

What Does It Take for a Woman to Become CEO?
Against the odds, Beth Mooney became the first female CEO of a top 20 U.S. bank and is carrying on the culture of inclusion at KeyCorp.

Research Reveals:

Why Is Global Diversity So Difficult?
Our exclusive research from 17 countries explores how the norms around advancing women vary between European and Asian nations and what companies are doing to address issues of gender equity.

Study: Women Still Not Getting to the Top Levels
Women make up more than half the workforce, but they still are significantly underrepresented on corporate boards and in C-level executive positions. 

Where’s the Diversity in Fortune 500 CEOs?
There’s a dearth of Black, Latino, Asian and women CEOs running major companies—but the DiversityInc Top 50 companies have better stats.

 

For more best practices and research on gender equity and the inclusion of women in management, visit BestPractices.DiversityInc.com.

 

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12 Comments

  • What Russ LImbaugh said to you was uncontionable, and he should be fired as far as I’m concerned. That being said, I have been called “sweetie” ( and I’m a man) quite often. Usually at fast food establishments when receiving my food. I have never taken offense, and find the remark quite endearing. Maybe that’s just because I was raised in a family that were very affectionate. We didn’t leave the house in the morning for school without kissing momma on the cheek as we headed for our school day. Much has changed over the years. Calling a women a slut and prostitute should bever be tolerated. As far as the “sweetie” remark though, I think it totally depends on the context from which it was made and the circumstances.

  • John Milton Wesley

    The “feminist movement” could not start in the ’60s until White women stopped their men from lynching Black men under the guise of “doing it to protect White females.

    The true power of White females in the 21st century in America, and the world will not emerge until the Rush Limbaughs of their race are forced to think twice before using offensive, stereotypical, derogatory language about them in the public domain without fear of retribution.

  • 1) I’d rather be called sweetie than slut all day long. If Pres Obama had called me sweetie, I’d be gushing like a girl should. Melted like an ice cream in 100 degree weather…

    2) “Sweetie” can’t be a challenge to gender-equity. I’ll be honest. As a woman, I’ve called GUYS Sweetie and all they did was blush and smile. I’ve run into hard core gangbangers and said “sweetie” and they loved it. Sweetie is a term used by both genders and applies to men and women. Some people just get in the habit of saying it. One of our receptionists at a dry cleaning company I used to work for called EVERYBODY sweetie – men and women.

    That is a FAR FAR cry from calling somebody a slut. Not even close to being the same thing.

    I, quite frankly, love it when people use the word “sweetie” to address me. It’s endearing and nothing close to being called a Georgetown “slut” or a Rutgers U “nappy-headed ho.”

    • Luke Visconti

      It’s better, in a professional environment, to not call, or be called, either. I’ll admit to enjoying the occasional sweetie directed my way – but I don’t call women (other than my wife and daughters) sweetie because it’s likely to be misconstrued in a business context.

      Let me put it another way. If Rush calls you sweetie, it’s likely to mean something far different than if I called you sweetie. But my intent is in my head – what you receive is your reality, and it’s better to use less ambiguous language.
      Luke Visconti, CEO of DiversityInc

      • sandra hylton

        I think all terms of endearment are in appropriate in the work place or from folks providing a service to you, be it the doctor’s office or a restaurant.

        I am from the south and hear it constantly in every walk of life. I view it as a put down and disrespectful…what is wrong with “Mr. or Ms”. I must say I have corrected folks who say that and they look at me like “what’s the big deal !” The same goes for “girl” or “boy” but I won’t go there.

        • Christine Wilson

          Unless its an elder or a family member calling me “sweetie”, I am offended by the term. To me it is condescending and especially inappropriate in a work environment.

      • I agree with Luke Visconti….and I respect the fact that he only refers to his wife and daughters as “sweetie”. Even though in the past I was not offended by that term, I think in a professional environment, just call me “Vita” or “Ms. Johnson”. Just leave the terms of endearment out of the workplace….

  • To add to the list HON… I hate it! Thanks for sharing this information by email. I will use it to educate others.

  • My focus is on differences between masculine and feminine ways of working and the strengths of each. I agree with the article’s characterization of women, and the acknowledgement in the comments, that women tend to apologize and prefer to negotiate for others rather than for themselves. Women who do ask for what they want sometimes get caught in that “double bind”–not seen as a leader if they don’t, seen as a b___ if they do. It is valuable to continue to make women aware of how they undermine their own success. But I want leaders, men and women, to understand and appreciate the feminine as well as masculine approach to work–and women whether they use a masculine or feminine approach!

  • The Author of this article Mixes Up the “Women’s Rights” movement with the “Feminist” movement, two Very Different creatures, and the founder of the women’s rights movement would be Appalled with the “Feminist” movement, NOT because they came from a Prudish time in America, but because the Women’s Rights movement HAD MORALS, and the Feminist Movement thinks that Morals are the Problem. The Feminist Movement is ALL about the Desire to make “murder” (abortion) Legal, That is the FACT that No one in the Feminist movement wants the Public to Understand, because they KNOW that were the public to understand that, their support would evaporate Instantly!
    But, then this response will Likely NOT be allowed, because DiversityInc is NOT about Diversity, but is rather about forcing and Agenda

    • Luke Visconti

      I’ll publish your comment because I’m somewhat in awe of your mash-up of Rush Limbaugh mental programming, conspiracy theories and imagineering of what feminism and women’s rights really means. I’m not going to publish any other comments for this article, so misogynists and bigots – please save your time. Luke Visconti, CEO of DiversityInc

  • Kevin Hurst

    Sweetie ? yes I’ve been called that but do not find it bad at the grocery store etc. I am 54 and folks take me for late 30s LOL.What I do not get is when white men call me( us) ‘Chief’ like we are ‘in charge’ or something. An older black guy told me years ago about them calling us that and never knew or experienced that before. Since then many times I have heard this and know what id going on. It’s disrespectful! Although i grew up in a small northers state capital it was not all black and the region is mostly white and the city when I grew up was less than 40% black and most pf us were under age! Working mainly with rural, vocational mechanically -inclined whites they were surprised in how much I knew about them and what they call or consider us like ‘Brazil Nuts’. kh

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