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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Not My Problem

 Think Again!


There were 20,421 views on LinkedIn alone in response to the June 8th post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry as a result of Dr. Kern's article, An Honest Discussion Men Need to Have Right Now. Not to mention the thousands of views from other social media sites. If you have not read that post yet, I think you should. Dr. Kern had written his article in response to the FAA's report "Breaking Barriers for Women in Aviation."

Today is Part Two
Dr. Kern's second article: 

Dr. Kern believes there are two reasons why women don't speak out when they are sexually harassed: (1) Fear of retribution and (2) they don't want to play the victim card. Sometimes it's also easier to simply look the other way and pretend the behavior doesn't exist. Other times women think by ignoring the behavior, they are being accepted as part of the group. Furthermore, if the behavior doesn't happen to them, it's easy to believe it's not occuring at all. As I mentioned in my post Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry, the problem may be due to the deviant behavior of management. 

If senior leadership behaves poorly, they set the example for others to follow. This behavior becomes the culture. Culture includes the norms and behaviors of everyone in the organization. But culture begins at the top. Culture also dictates who the organization will employ, which will often be the same cookie cutter selection they have always chosen. The aviation industry even has a culture of its own. 

Dr. Kern has brought to our attention that it is impossible to have a positive safety culture when sexual harassment is prevalent. He discusses the need to change and how that might happen. I do believe it's possible to change culture. But I also know what it feels like to be at the pointy end of retaliation when attempting to create change for the better. Therefore, I understand why people are reticent to come forward to create change of any kind. There is no right answer to this problem other than to start at the top. Unfortunately when a CEO is also the Chairman of the Board in an organization with a negative safety culture, that change becomes difficult to manage. Even Board members may fear retaliation if they attempt to rid themselves of the bad example. The negative culture persists.

I highly recommend you read Dr. Kern's article

Then... let's all think how to solve this problem. 


Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

10 comments:

  1. There is no point to sexual harassment of any kind, anywhere, and to anyone!

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  2. Yep its happening in society and the industry as a whole it seems you as an individual have nothing to gain in trying to report it but a lot to loose. So when you're passionate and it has been hard to break into the profession you do what you can to escape , or ignore the situation as self protection.

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    1. This is so true. How can you speak out being the outsider? More so, when you are new then you get a bad reputation. I know many women doing what they have to do in the need to self protect. Dr. Kern is making a grand effort to change the behavior.

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  3. Flew airline for 35 years, and never found there to be any sexual harassment in the cockpit. We had a few that tried to make it an issue, but reasoned discussion usually solved the crisis.

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    1. That's great news. What year did you start working? Curious what airline you worked with, and how many women pilots there were. Thanks for sharing. Glad you had a great career.

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  4. I hear of this happening, but as the Captain of my airliner, I try to set the tone of utmost respect for all, not just females, and make people realize that any deviant behavior is not tolerated.

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    1. And if everyone behaved like you, we would not have a problem. Thank you for setting a great example!

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  5. As an individual on the receiving end of this type of behavior, I will be reading this book. You hit the nail on the head about the two reasons why we don't speak up. If we don't, we are looked upon as weak or incapable. If we do, then we are a bitch and not a team player. No win position without the proper culture, which includes the views/actions of the management team. Many companies state that they are all inclusive, yet don't know how to educate employees and promote a proper culture.

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    1. I am so sorry you have been on the receiving end of this behavior. I have been on the receiving end of corporate induced retaliation, and come to learn it was because I was a woman who reported safety. So, we have much, much work to do. I still have faith things work out like they are supposed to. And those who need to be held accountable will... Thank you for your comment!

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Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!