#TimesUp for the PESGB
When does banter become something that is unacceptable? Should we modify our behaviour to suit the world around us, or consider the industry we work in to be somehow different?
It is fair to say that I have built good relationships with colleagues in the industry, often through the kind of light-hearted banter that is common between the sexes at events and conferences, and, almost without exception, have been treated respectfully and chivalrously. But recent events in politics and show business have led to the #TimesUp campaign, and highlighted the discomfort felt by many, particularly women, when colleagues have pushed the boundaries a little with banter, over-friendliness and an assumption that, if you dress attractively, you are fair game.
As a result, many companies and organisations have had to put together new policies and procedures to guide appropriate behaviour in the workplace, and the PESGB is no exception. Policies exist to ensure that women – and men – feel safe in their working environment, whether in the PESGB offices, on the exhibition floor or at a social event. We would respectfully ask that everyone considers these policies – which essentially boil down to good manners – and keep an eye on their own and colleagues’ behaviour. Ask yourself “am I treating this person with the respect I would like to have shown to my significant other?”. It may seem unreasonable, but it is vital to safeguard yourself and others. Body language isn’t always an obvious “tell” – and it is beholden on each of us to be aware of our own behaviour in all situations.
This awareness and respect for one another should allow us to feel confident in being able to say that we are uncomfortable, in the knowledge that it will be understood. However, if at any time you should feel uncomfortable and not able to close the situation down personally, we would recommend that you speak to someone who may be able to intervene on your behalf.
As an extension of this policy, the PESGB requests that, when exhibiting, the staff you use on booths are there because they are your employees, not hosts/hostesses chosen for their attractiveness, and that men and women alike are dressed appropriately, and are not expected to demean themselves in order to attract attention either to themselves or to your booth.
The PESGB staff and Council would appreciate your understanding and observation of these guidelines going forward, for the safeguarding and welfare of their staff, and for the health and safety of everyone involved in any of the PESGB activities.