Ten things everyone can do to move beyond identifying “bad apples” and actually #erasesexism.

Sure, it’s a start.

We must speak out and support women whose stories have been painfully buried for, in some cases, decades, and are now being resurrected. Yet that doesn’t go far enough. It certainly gives members of Congress or employers a feel-good moment. So they can say they “addressed the situation.” They “took action.”

Where were all of them when women needed real support, to listen to and believe women’s stories years ago? Where were they when we needed support on legislation to protect women’s and girls’ health and rights? Who turned a blind eye, saying “that’s just the way these men are” or “boys will be boys?”

We have all been caught up in the culture of sexism. Just like the men who are now being held accountable. I am not equating being a harasser with being complicit. They are very different and deserve different ramifications. I am pointing out that there is a larger systemic problem than the siloed stories of “evil men” or “bad apples” we have been reading about. We’ve all been internalizing sexism to the point we don’t sometimes recognize it. By not looking at the role the media plays and the role that systemic sexism plays, we are missing an opportunity to address the root cause of sexual harassment — power.

Sexism isn’t something with which men are born. It’s not biological. Just like racism isn’t something with which we are born. We learn it. And — good news. We can unlearn it. But we have to be intentional and thorough about it. We can’t just point fingers and do away with the evil doers, or we will not have addressed the problem. The mass attention the #MeToo stories have received may be enough to shift things, but I am afraid that we are focusing only on the men being “caught” and not on the problem as a whole.

When we socialize our boys to be masculine and devalue being feminine, we are complicit. We need broader solutions to address the systemic sexism that protects abuse of power. First, we need to acknowledge that sexual harassment is a result of sexism in our culture, and not the result of a few bad apples. Only then can we work on solutions. Only then can I look my daughter in the eye and say we are working toward a more equal and just society, and that there is hope for her generation.

Here are a few things we can all do to begin to erase sexism:

• Support and fund good journalism, news outlets that provides fact-checked, unbiased reporting based on multiple sources.

• Support media literacy focused on gender issues in schools, www.medialit.org and medialiteracynow.org

• Support women in media, the Women’s Media Center, The Center for Media Justice, Common Sense Media, Women in Media and News.

• Help elect more women to public office and ask women in your life to run for office, support EMILY’s List, Emerge America, Women Elect.

• Use your privilege to ensure that more women are elected to boards of directors. Support Women Corporate Directors, www.womenonboards.net.

• Support and promote girls and women’s mentoring programs, especially for careers in technology; support Women Who Code, Executive Women’s Forum.

• Reflect on how you contribute to sexism. Decide from this day forward only to measure girls and women by their accomplishments and not by how they look or their ability to nurture. Do you judge other women for the way they look? Do you ask or expect girls and women to look a certain way? Or subtly prepare girls for their child-bearing role later in life by how you treat them?

• Do what’s right, not what’s easy, e.g., don’t watch movie after movie with your kids (male or female) with no female protagonist. Watch films that pass the Bechdel test — films with women talking to other women about something other than men. See bechdeltest.com. Speak up when you see someone behaving inappropriately.

When people in leadership, both men and women, set this standard and make it a priority to appoint, elect and hire women into leadership positions, and people at all levels intentionally and methodically address inequalities in gender roles and norms from an early age, then and only then can they proclaim they have taken a stand against sexual harassment.

Giovanna Rossi Pressley is president of Collective Action Strategies and producer and host of The Well Woman Show on KUNM Radio.

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