Newswise — As the founder of a women’s leadership initiative and a professor of organizational behavior, the University of Delaware’s Wendy Smith is well positioned to comment on the #metoo hashtag.

The movement, which has taken over social media, addresses the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in America, particularly against women.

Smith says #metoo is the perfect and logical first step. Major goals such as gender equity in the workplace can’t be achieved until such movements help to uncover the small, subtle sexual microaggressions – comments about women's body and clothes, the demeaning language used to refer to women, etc. – that send signals about power dynamics, create fear for women and at worst launch vicious cycles where women question their value, potential and strength. 

The #metoo movement also demonstrates that it is everyone’s responsibility – not just victims – to address these issues.

Smith is the co-founder of the Lerner College of Business and Economics Women’s Leadership Forum, which is designed and facilitated by Lerner faculty and staff who are considered thought leaders – and practitioners – of women’s leadership development and who have supported the advancement of high-potential women for over 15 years.

Her research over the last several years has uncovered an important element of effective leadership: leaders don’t make clear-cut choices between competing demands (today vs. tomorrow, profit vs. passion). Instead, they find approaches that embrace the paradox. They use “both/and” thinking.  

To set up an interview, contact Peter Bothum at 831-1418 or [email protected].