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Business Schools Step Up in #MeToo Era

B-schools are now taking their place in the #MeToo movement.

The Boston Globe reports that schools like Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT Sloan, Georgetown McDonough, Vanderbilt Owen, and Carnegie Mellon Tepper are all introducing their own variations of workplace harassment education.

“People are waking up in business schools and realizing we’ve had a blind spot,” Daena Giardella, an MIT Sloan senior lecturer and leadership consultant, tells the Globe. “Teaching students how to respond to sexual harassment is not just a nice little soft skill to add on. I think it is actually now an imperative. We can’t have leadership without this being taught.”


Currently, according to the Forte Foundation—a consortium of business schools and companies working to promote women in business — women make up nearly 38% of MBA students nationwide. That’s a large increase since 2001 when the number was 26%.

By 2030, that number is expected to increase to 50%.


As a result, b-schools have been increasing awareness around gender issues through sexual harassment training in curriculum that focus on ethics and values.

At Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, a facilitated conversation series includes topics on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

At Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, a popular session on the #MeToo movement was featured in part of its “Fiery Topics” series—which “provides an opportunity for the Johnson community (faculty, staff, and students) to engage in open conversation about a current ‘fiery’ topic,” according to Cornell.

UC Berkeley’s Haas School Business is implementing sexual harassment training for its incoming fall students. The training will be led by current MBA students, who will serve as mentors in teaching how leaders can create safe workplaces.

“At Berkeley, we have a shared interest in sustaining a community that is safe and affirming,” Fiona M. Doyle, vice provost for graduate studies, says in a previous press release. “Each of us plays a vital part in supporting the University’s commitment to a campus environment where all persons are free from sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH), including behaviors such as retaliation, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.”

Next Spring, MIT’s Sloan plans to offer a course on advancing equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Sloan’s course will be dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion in the workplace that delves into responses to sexual harassment and conditions that allow it to fester.

Shamir Tanna, an MBA student at Sloan and a member of the school’s Males Allies program, tells the Globe that addressing sexual harassment means bringing it the forefront of the curricula. 

“How can we really be part of the solution and fixing some of the systemic things that are going on?” he tells the Globe. “We need to make it as important as any other topic that we learn here.”

Sources: Boston Globe, Forte Foundation, UC Berkeley

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