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See it, say it! by Diana Ryall

When I think of any type of inequality, I wonder who else saw it and what did they do about it. So often when a woman or a man is treated poorly or harassed, there are other men and women who see it, feel the other’s discomfort and may go up to the victim later, but, they don’t “say it” to the perpetrator.

How do we build moral courage and what can you do?

  • If you know a woman is paid less, do you have the courage to call it with their manager? Do you speak up on her behalf? If she reports to you, do you fix the inequity or let it continue because she hasn’t found out yet?
  • When someone assumes that the woman in a meeting is the assistant, but she isn’t, do you offer to organise coffee or take the notes to make the point? Do you speak up?
  • If you see someone bothering a woman physically or verbally at work, do you say “That is not appropriate here”? Reporting it is better than nothing, but speaking up is hard, but makes the point more strongly.
  • When someone tells a story or a joke that is inappropriate, do you speak out and say that is inappropriate in a workplace? Often young female employees are uncomfortable but don’t know what to do or how to handle it. More senior employees need to show leadership and speak up.
  • When someone works flexibly and you hear someone else say “they aren’t serious about their career”. Do you say that is not a logical conclusion? Do you speak up for flexibility?
  • In Australia, about half of women are discriminated against when they are pregnant. How would you feel if it was your daughter? What do you say when you hear the comments?

Courage is seen when Lieutenant General David Morrison’s spoke about behaviour in the army. He said, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”. If you haven’t seen it please watch it here:


Are you prepared to have courage to call the behaviours and comments that you know are unacceptable in your workplace?  I hope so for Australia’s future.

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Diana Ryall

Diana is a leading voice and advocate for Gender Equality in Australia and Founder of Xplore.
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