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Ask Tara 3 — Changing Gender Dynamics in the Workplace


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/11/03

Tara Abhasakun is a colleague. We have written together before. I reached out because of the good journalism by her. I wanted to get some expert opinion on women’s rights, journalism, and so on. I proposed a series. She accepted. Abahasakun studied history at The College of Wooster. Much of her coursework was in Middle East history.

After graduating Tara started blogging about the rights of women, LGBT, and minorities in MENA. She is currently a freelance writer. She is of Thai, Iranian, and European descent. She has lived in Bangkok and San Francisco. Here we talk about updating gender dynamics in the workplace.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With the new open channels of communications about sexual misconduct in all situations, not ideally set or widely accepted but, certainly, increasing, this should alter workplace dynamics between the genders.

What will the changing international landscape of work life mean for the genders?

Tara Abhasakun: I think that in the beginning, things may be a bit rocky because many people are afraid about false accusations and the idea that anything they do will be read as misconduct.

I think that in light of the #MeToo movement, we are seeing some of the frustrations over this issue fizzle out.

Much of this frustration is from men who are genuinely misogynists, however, I believe that a good amount of this frustration is from men who now genuinely feel as though every interaction that they have with a woman could be branded as harassment.

I don’t have all the answers. But I think the beauty of the #MeToo movement is that we are HAVING these conversations.

This is only the beginning, and I think the reason we see this type of tension, awkwardness, and frustration is BECAUSE we are finally addressing issues that, for a long time, have been swept under the rug.

We are seeing the birth pangs of the movement, now that men and women are thinking about these issues. We are starting to answer questions such as, “How much touching is appropriate in X situation?”

What type of greeting is appropriate when addressing strangers on the street? It’s frustrating and hard because we are at this beginning stage, and it’s going to take another generation to have a clearer sense of the answers.

But I think that as we continue trying to answer these questions, things will settle down, and hopefully one day we can have a world free of all sexual violence and misconduct, though that day is probably far off in the future.

Jacobsen: What workplace policies, protections, mores, and norms would improve the trajectory of the changing gender dynamics in the workplace?

Abhasakun: Once again, I don’t have all the answers. I believe that we need to be careful in prescribing one exact “remedy” for sexual misconduct.

This question is rather broad, and I believe that if it was about a more specific company or industry, I might be better able to answer it.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Tara.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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