Gretchen Carlson Talks Advice on Dealing with Sexual Harassment, How Women Can Stick Together, What to Do About Fake News and more at LMU

On Wednesday night, the LMU Alliance for Philanthropic Women held “A conversation with Gretchen Carlson” where the famous former news anchor turned author and women’s activist came to talk about her latest project, The Gift of Courage foundation. After filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the former director of Fox News, Carlson has become an advocate for working women everywhere with her new anti-sexual harassment movement called “Be fierce”.

Her new book details her experiences as well as many other women’s experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace. She said, “When news of my case broke hundreds then thousands of women started reaching out to me with their stories because they felt like they could trust me and that’s what inspired me to keep going.” The author is currently working to get a bill passed in congress addressing sexual harassment in the workplace while also completing her book tour.

Carlson told the audience,

“I could’ve gone home and paid more attention to my kids and my dog, but I really wanted to make a difference. As a society we were fooled. We thought we had come so far. But why weren’t we hearing about these stories? Because they’re in secret.”

“People aren’t filing lawsuits over because somebody says I like your blue dress. These are egregious incidents.” She said.

 

She also gave her thoughts on what college campuses can do to help prevent and address this problem saying, “Growing up I had parents who told me I could do anything I wanted.” She recounted her experience playing the violin as a girl explaining that she was always judged on her talent and was lucky enough not to experience any inequality. She remembered attending Stanford and again being treated equally and working hard to graduate with honors. She told the audience,

“It wasn’t until I got into the real world that I realized these problems existed. At my first job I called my mom and said, ‘Mom can you believe women don’t get paid the same as men?!’

Carlson shared that preventing this problem starts with a conversation on campus, before women and men enter the working world. She hopes her book will help to arm women with a plan for what to do if they experience sexual harassment or assault. She has even included some scripts on how to address an incident in the moment as it’s happening and said, “you have to be prepared.”

She also emphasized the importance of education and training saying,

“Most people complete sexual harassment training online now a days. And they get their assistant to do it for them.”  

She also talked about raising her kids to respect women saying,

“That’s why I’m a working mom, for my daughter but more so for my son.”

The former news anchor also shared her thoughts on fake news and how it can affect important conversations such as these. She recommends people expose themselves to outside sources to combat partisan bias. Carlson said,

“My one piece of advice is for people to watch something they disagree with at least once a week. We’re living in this isolated world and it makes people unaccepting.”

Finally, she urged women to stick together in the fight for equality saying,

“Here’s what I’ve learned, you can have on hospital scrubs, army fatigues, or a skirt. It’s not your fault…every woman’s story has to be heard.”

Her inspiring experiences definitely gave the audience a lot to think about.