#MeToo Why SILICON VALLEY Can’t Follow EDUCATION in Managing Abuse of Power

How can communities – Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood – manage harassment and abuse situations? Are Health and Education doing a better job?

When I evaluate communities online and offline I look for power bases. They include but are not limited to, popular influencers, designated leaders, tribal groups and rites of passage/rituals. Demographics, psychographics and customer avatars (behaviours) are critical.  The ability to change a community is definitely predicated on basic social psychology and anthropological fundamentals. Which is a long way of saying “can this group improve its behaviours and what would it take to initiate and sustain that?”.


C-Suite found abusing their position with regards to harassment shall not hold a senior position again. If you steal from a company you are not allowed to hold a Director position again, so, why not?  Change the law and no Director or leadership positions for abusers. Simple.

I suggested this to someone and they laughed – “they’d be no CEOs left”. Which brings us to the crux of the issue:


The challenge with Business is lack of accountability to female peers. In other words, would this pestering behaviour continue in a room full of professional women? Silicon Valley, Wall Street etc have very few women in power. So if you remove a good 10-15% of men from senior roles who will fill those positions? Under-experienced young men probably. The women aren’t even on the radar. Women do NOT get past mid-level management in any kind of numbers so aren’t even able to apply for senior roles. With 82% of Marketing/PR and Comms graduates being women, how many do you think get senior management experience? Within agencies? 3-5%. (Heaps of them run off to run their own micro agencies but that’s another story).

7 percent of investing partners at the top 100 venture and micro-venture firms are women. Looking across all firms, the percentage rises slightly to 8 percent. — 12 percent of venture rounds and 10 percent of venture dollars globally between 2010 and 2015 went to startups with at least one woman founder. (TechCrunch)

How do you stop abuse of power towards women if women aren’t in the room in any great numbers? They are in another room running micro businesses, usually with other women.


Why doesn’t the tech industry, the entertainment industry hold their leaders to account like Education does? No matter how much a student throws themselves at a lecturer or teacher it’s a no-no. I would say also the armed forces has similar rules, but not sure they are the leading lights in stopping abuse within the ranks. Education does a mighty fine job. Your lecturer puts his hand on your butt, you call it. Is there an element of fear? Yes sure, lecturers and tutors leave their doors open no matter the gender of the student. Academics lead society as much as business leaders do (they just don’t get paid as much). Hold CEOs & C-Suite accountable like educators are held accountable.

Unfortunately, GENDER balance isn’t there

I will make the point that Education is strongly female (many female teachers) so there often ARE many women in the room/school if misbehaviour occurs. Silicon Valley and Wall Street have removed women in senior roles as an option for self-regulation. Education had not. So it’s going to be up to the men to fix this situation and all females can do so far is shine spotlights on behaviour. At least social media is good for that.  [Still, it’s men that often become Heads and get Tenure, so the potential for abuse]

Please note: I am not ignoring women that abuse men, but in Education and Business and Entertainment those numbers are greatly inferior to men abusing women. And in Education both women and men are held accountable..

So, what other industries manage abuse better than Tech & Entertainment? I’m thinking Health (my doctor would have a nurse sitting in the corner when examining females). Is there another industry that uses social context, rules and rituals to manage abuse of power? What can we learn from them?


Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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