Women’s day 2020 at CBS: How do we work and live in a post- #metoo world?

How has #metoo changed the way we perceive sexual harassment in society and workplaces? That is the subject of International Women’s Day 2020. Learn more about the themes of the day in this feature by Florence Villesèche, Associate Professor at CBS.



#metoo and other hashtags such as #timesup have attracted worldwide attention to how people – often women – are objects of sexual harassment or sexual aggression, not only in their private circles but also in their workplace or other organisations such as unions, sports associations, etc. Therefore, #metoo is a central theme of International Women’s Day 2020 at CBS. We are going to address what goes beyond words, what is always there yet little discussed: the body and sexuality in organisations.

#metoo has created new awareness of sexual harassment
Online, virtual spaces have allowed for personal experiences to be shared and discussions have taken place in media worldwide. Hashtag movements have also helped develop the awareness of both men and women about harassment and gender-based violence. They have inspired many people to take action or at least to be better listeners and try to be in someone else’s shoes for a moment. However, despite such constructive efforts, several cases or lawsuits have attracted tabloid-style attention, and here the focus tends to be on what happens to the rich and famous who are being tried or are witnesses in the trial rather than on the underlying issues.

New research on the impact of #metoo
Behind the scenes, academics have conducted research on bodies and sexualities in the workplace, some with a specific focus on harassment and gender-based violence. This started way before #metoo and probably will continue for a long while after. It is this research perspective that we want to foreground on Women’s Day this year. A panel of researchers and invited speakers from outside academia will discuss questions such as: What does it mean to do feminist politics in organisations after the #metoo movement? How can we share knowledge and experience across sectors and fields to fight harassment? Another panel will then discuss how to understand violence, bodies and sexualities from a global perspective, e.g. violence experienced by local, precarious workers in subsidiaries of Western multinationals or violence against LGBT+ persons in different work or cultural contexts? 

A new artistic approach to International Women’s Day
On this day, we also want to highlight the arts as artists are also researchers of society and organisations and the bodies and sexualities in these, and they mediate their findings not through academic books and articles but works of art. So in addition to panels with academics and speakers from business and NGOs, the programme also features music with the band Følsom Front and a conversation with artist Maria Kapajeva and her work about the ‘Russian brides’ business, a flourishing market through which western men can find an Eastern European wife.

Join the party – everybody is welcome!
Finally, while by its very name Women’s Day puts women in the spotlight, we wish to emphasise that this day – and our event – is not only for women. We do have an all-female line up on the stage side indeed (although diversity has more shades that male vs. female, as I am sure you know!), however, we want and need to have this conversation ALL together –beyond the gender binary, beyond heterosexuality, and with an understanding of how other dimensions such as race, ethnicity, physical ability or social class play a role in what we experience and how we can act with our bodies in and around organisations. This is a day for everybody.

Read more about International Women’s Day at CBS

Contact Associate Professor, Florence Villéseche

The page was last edited by: Communications // 02/24/2020