What can a walkout accomplish? Well, similar to a strike, walkouts send a message. Remember earlier this year when students walked out of class to send a powerful message about the need for gun control? Walkouts are a way to get people to take notice of something that’s really important. Well, on November 1st something happened at one of the largest technology companies in the world. Approximately 20,000 employees from Google walked out together in a coordinated effort to send a message to the leaders of the company. What was this message? The company culture around diversity, sexual harassment, and pay and promotion inequity (that’s when men and women don’t receive the same recognition for the same quality of work performed) needs to change.
While Google still has a long way to go to truly change its company culture (after all, it takes time to change a company’s culture!), the internet giant has already taken some steps to right its wrongs. One of the leaders who walked out alongside her team is Google’s Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat. After the event, she said, “If you can get cars to self-drive … why can’t we solve this? We should do better.” But it’s not just a Google problem; it turns out that it’s a Silicon Valley problem, and many other companies are beginning to look at their own company cultures to see if they’re treating men and women equally and ensure that sexual harassment is taken seriously.
What do you think these companies could do to change their culture for the better?