#MeToo and Time’s Up proved that when Hollywood celebrities took a stand about what would—and would not—be tolerated in the workplace, people listened. They also showed how getting influential people behind a cause can make a difference. That inspiration—along with the momentum building behind Global Meetings Industry Day—was pivotal in Association for Women in Events (AWE)’s announcement on May 21 that the group had gathered a #StrongerTogether coalition to address sexual harassment in the meetings industry.
“Sexual harassment is an issue AWE has long wanted to address, and now that we are speaking with a united voice with all of these organizations, we can be a resource to end harassment for everyone,” said AWE president Kiki Fox.
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Signing on to support the movement was The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE), Events Industry Council, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, IMEX Group, Joint Meetings Industry Council, MPI, PCMA and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE). “These groups will help us reach a larger audience and share best practices from all over the world,” Fox said.
“All the organizations came together because the ethical concerns and human rights would be better served working together, so we can stop sexual harassment from occurring in the industry,” said ASAE President and CEO John Graham.
SITE Past President Rhonda Brewer, who will sit on the coalition task force, said: “SITE is deeply committed to providing a supportive professional community where all members are treated with dignity, decency and respect.” SITE already uses a code of ethics and conduct that bans members from allowing harassment or intimidation of any kind.
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“We must make every effort to prevent harassment of any kind within our global community and look forward to collaborating with the coalition on this very important initiative,” said MPI President Paul Van Deventer. Amanda Armstrong, MPI’s board chair, will serve on the committee.
Starting with a training webinar, the task force will develop tools and resources to educate and empower individuals in the events industry. “We want to put out the message that there will be zero tolerance [for sexual harassment],” Fox said.