Have you ever heard of the Pence Code? The code originated in 1948 when the preacher Ge Pelley refused to meet alone with women other than his wife to avoid suspicion. In the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2017, U.S. President Mike Pence adopted the code, saying he would not attend parties without his wife. There is also a culture of excluding women from dinner seating in order to avoid sexual harassment. But is the Pence Code the best way to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace?

After the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017, the gender consciousness of the masses gradually rose, victims from different fields came forward to speak out about their experiences, and the community expressed solidarity with the public to raise awareness and definition of sexual harassment and violence. But under the #MeToo wave, there has also been a backlash against #MeToo, such as the implementation of the Pence Code by men in the workplace who are afraid of being involved in #MeToo movements.

The code originated in 1948, when Billy Graham, an American Evangelical evangelical preacher, explicitly refused to meet or dwell with women outside his wife to avoid any suspicion. And in 2017, according to the Washington Post, Vice President Mike Pence adopted the rule, further saying he would not attend dinners without his wife.

Today, the Pence Code is the best way to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace, in the hope that the workplace will be #MeToo the workplace changes? Is there a set of fixed guidelines for action in a multi-inclusive, gender-equal workplace?

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Blurred workplace boundaries: Is this sexual harassment?

A Pew Research Center survey conducted in February and March 2018 found that 51 percent of Americans think that a greater focus on sexual harassment and gender issues will make it difficult for men to understand how to interact with women in the workplace, while 12 percent say it will become simpler.

In a survey by LeanIn and SurveyMonkey, executives said: "We are very concerned about hiring women, especially administrative assistants, in very private positions, and I will hire men directly." (Extended reading: Korean #MeToo Live: Behind the bright glow of Korean drama, have you seen oppressed women? )

Inviting female colleagues to dinner after work, which is likely to be charged, excludes women, and if you're accused of sexual harassment in the same space, you don't hire women in the same space, it's a way of directly cutting off female employees' contact with male employees, but let's ask, excluding women is the best way we can think of?

Trying to reduce the number of #MeToo in an environment of uncertainty and change is not fundamental. Roberta Kaplan, a well-known American lawyer who has worked on film director Ratner's #MeToo sexual assault and defends gay marriage rights, said it was a "huge mistake" to "segregate women" and that companies should set clear values and practice it if they want to avoid sexual assault.

How to build a corporate culture to avoid sexual harassment

Founded in 1962, Catalyst, a global non-profit organization that creates a culture of D and I for businesses, gives professional and diverse advice, and they provide a handbook, "Sexual sblins - What employers n eed to know (Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What Do Employees Need to Know?) The first mention of the establishment of a culture to avoid sexual harassment, including pre-preparation, prevention, as well as after-the-fact response methods, follow-up reform. (Recommended reading: How can thed-and-I strategy-to-work improve gender discrimination?) 8 plus 6 exercises to help accelerate workplace equality)

Focus on the key actions mentioned in the manual for everyone:

Get ready

Catalyst identified five principles for building a culture of sexual harassment: re-examination, wide-ranging action, smart thinking, fairness, and easy to understand. That is, re-examining the company's past policies to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, whether it is adequate to protect all employees, including external workers, and customer contacts. Then you have to make the importance of the Policy realtors to all employees, and "everyone" has a right and obligation to stop violence and harassment in the workplace, taking into account the possibility of sexual harassment among minorities in the company, such as transgender, racial, and age-appropriate people.

Finally, make everything simple and fair, transparent and open processes, establish simple and convenient communication channels with employees, such as anonymous lines, dedicated mailboxes, and promote them in a "positive" manner.


Catalyst recommends that companies accelerate the improvement of women's representation at all levels, including board members. Differences in power and gender composition at work are closely linked to the likelihood of sexual harassment in the workplace (not necessarily in male-dominated industries).

Companies must also actively educate their executives to resist sexual harassment, which includes updating their sexual harassment policies, challenging traditional perceptions and perceptions of sexual harassment, and making all genders complicit, not confrontational. For example, invite employees of different genders to state the negative emotions they may have after experiencing sexual harassment (because the negative emotions that are caused by different genders are different, we can make a difference to each other by articulating our ideas directly).

At present in the United States, although as bystanders, there are businesses that hold management accountable for ignoring sexual harassment, so it is important to create a culture of zero tolerance at the top, encouraging employees to "say it if you see it."


In the event of a sexual harassment incident, the enterprise should establish a space and culture of support, understanding and empathy for the victims, especially in times of trauma, to maintain physical and psychological recovery time for victims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and to immediately and impartially follow up and respond to incidents of sexual harassment. If companies tolerate sexism and sexual harassment, they unknowingly create a toxic culture at work.


The incident is a pity, but it is also an opportunity for corporate reform of the culture, in addition to policy re-amendment, Catalyst also specifically point to the workplace drinking culture. While this is not a direct cause of harassment, nor is it a cause of harassment, drinking alcohol increases the risk of sexual harassment. Therefore, the enterprise must clearly explain to its employees:

  1. Sexual harassment is illegal and not allowed, regardless of the circumstances.
  2. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to report the sexual harassment cases they find.
  3. If a co-worker sees that an employee has been improperly harassed, they should stop it immediately.

Building a corporate culture to combat sexual harassment does not require segregation and ethnic division. Through clearly marked principles and rules, the concept of D and I can also be internalized in the hearts of every workplace partner, creating a friendly and safe workplace environment for enterprises.