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The rise of female whistleblowers

The rise of female whistleblowers. Oxford Bibliographies. Andrea Hickerson. January 1, 2018. [Andrea Hickerson is the Director of the School of Communication and an Associate Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.]

“Until recently, I firmly believed whistleblowers would increasingly turn to secure, anonymizing tools and websites, like WikiLeaks, to share their data rather than take the risk of relying on a journalist to protect their identity. Now, however, WikiLeaks is implicated in aiding the election of Donald Trump, and “The Silence Breakers,” outspoken victims of sexual assault, are Time’s 2017 Person of the Year…Historically, women wouldn’t have been likely candidates to report internally because they haven’t been listened to or empowered in the workplace  At work they are  undervalued,underrepresented in leadership roles, and underpaid compared to male colleagues. This signals to women that their concerns will not be taken seriously or instigate change. Therefore, many choose to remain silent. Whistleblowing comes with enormous risks, and those risks are greater for women….In today’s whistleblowing moment women are creating de facto public support organizations by coming out in groups. This signals to others with similar stories that it is okay to speak out and their stories can be believed…I’m hopeful that the media’s coverage and careful reporting on sexual assault whistleblowers can transcend politics and help further restore media trust so that more women will feel comfortable confiding in journalists, and believe that their stories can effect change…”

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