Gretchen Carlson became a pioneer for women speaking out about sexual harassment in the workplace when she went public with a lawsuit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes four years ago. Still, the former Fox News host tells Yahoo Life that there’s more work to do when it comes to empowering women, and explains how those efforts are tied in with the current Black Lives Matter movement.
“All of these movements are sort of working in tandem and in parallel lines because while the movement of women and sexual harassment and having a voice is completely different from BLM, it's similar in the sense that people are incredibly motivated and inspired to speak up,” Carlson explains. “I really believe that all of this is happening for a reason.”
The journalist and author of Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back spoke directly to the fact that voices like hers were often ignored or silenced in the past — adding that corporate nondisclosure agreements continue to keep employees quiet about toxicity in the workplace. But after bravely sharing her truth in 2016, Carlson was ultimately credited for being a leading voice in the #MeToo movement that shook up the corporate structure, and the way that power is leveraged in the workplace. Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is working in a similar way when it comes to shedding light on racial injustices and discrimination in these same spaces.
“If companies thought that this whole revolution was a passing fad, that's really not the case,” she says. “Now whether it's gun violence at schools or harassment in the workplace or Black Lives Matter, people know their voice matters. And that to me is so inspiring to watch these other movements happen, at the same time that I'm working on my specific issue.”
When speaking to the necessity for companies to address these issues and change their culture as a result, Carlson refers to the efforts she made to drive that change at the Miss America Organization before stepping down from her position as chairwoman in June 2019.
“I was incredibly proud of the changes that were made with the Miss America institution as we moved through the hundred years,” she says, while noting that the most influential changes, including the elimination of the swimsuit competition, were made as a result of unanimous decisions by the board of directors and not her alone. “And the whole point was to try and keep the organization that benefited me in my life relevant for future generations and at its past or most current state it wasn't.”
Discussing her episode of the MAKERS podcast, “DNA of a MAKER,” hosted by Lilliana Vazquez that premiers on Tuesday, Carlson also explains that working with brands that put women at the forefront is something she’s long cared about. While working as a vocal advocate since 2016 and her ongoing efforts to lift other women up with the creation of the Lift Our Voices organization, however, Carlson says that doing work with organizations with the same values is now vital.
“I've always been a huge supporter of women and especially over the last four years, I think it's really important to support other organizations and entities who have been doing great work on behalf of women as well,” she says. “You know, part of this whole process is banding together to have a louder voice than just singular voices.”
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