Megyn Kelly Invites You To Join The Revolution
“The revolution is so much bigger than just #MeToo,” says Megyn Kelly, host of NBC News’ Megyn Kelly Today. Last year Kelly transitioned from Fox News Channel to NBC News. While her career move was highly scrutinized, Kelly says her aim was to be in a place where she could empower other women.
“For me this is the start of an ‘empowerment revolution’. It is about much more than sexual harassment. #TimesUp is one tool in our arsenal. But that is just one piece.”
Kelly is now on a mission to use her platform to amplify women’s voices. In this interview, she shares why #MeToo and #TimesUp are just the start of achieving gender equality in the workplace and how each of us can join the revolution.
Michelle King: What is the ‘empowerment revolution’?
Megyn Kelly: I don’t want to pretend that I am speaking for everyone, but the way I see it is that this moment is about equality and empowerment for women. If we can really gain equality for women in the workplace and outside of it, it will be so much easier to handle the #MeToo situations in the world and diminish them. A door has been opened now and if we don’t walk through it we are going to have to wait another 20 years.
King: Why is this movement so important to you?
Kelly: I have been pretty open about the fact that I was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes the CEO of Fox News, when I was very young in my tenure there. It began with verbal harassment, very inappropriate comments, that kind of thing. Then it graduated to physical attempts to be with me – all of which I rejected. But at great risk to myself. It was a very scary time in my career. I was very concerned that when and if it culminated… that it would be the end of my career.
No person wants to be in the position of rejecting their boss. When I did reject him, I consulted a lawyer immediately and did things to protect myself. I found out later that he then moved on to other women.
King: This started with #MeToo and #TimesUp. What do you think is next for the revolution?
Kelly: There is so much work to be done. How we do the work is a tougher question because there is no leader. There isn’t one person in charge of this movement. One of the reasons is politics. We continue to let politics divide us. It drives me nuts. Why would we divide our ‘stiletto army’ in half?
For example, at the Women’s March, the pro-lifers wanted to march and they were told not to come. That is insane. Especially, over an issue as divisive as abortion. This is not a litmus test by which you then get into the ‘stiletto army.’ As far as I am concerned if you want in, you are in. Male or female. Democrat or Republican. If you are for female empowerment then come on board! We need to stop demonizing people based on their politics.
King: How do we ensure that we keep this conversation going?
Kelly: We have to be open to discussions on this that don’t perfectly align with our viewpoint or ideologies. An example is Matt Damon. He was trying to ask for proportionality in the sexual harassment discussion. That’s completely reasonable. You are not anti-women just because you say Ben Affleck and Harvey Weinstein are not exactly the same. That is factual. It is not to excuse bad behavior. It is just to argue for proportionality.
When Matt Damon got killed for that, I felt it was wrong. It shuts down a million other Matt Damon’s from ever wanting to have this discussion. Why can’t we have these radically honest conversations? You don’t shame people out of it.
King: What could women start or continue doing to join this revolution?
Kelly: Well, there is a lot. Women in power should take active steps to be a mentor to younger women. Young women should seek a female mentor. So, be a mentor and seek out a mentor. When it comes to equal pay let’s talk about our salaries. I have done that here at NBC with my female colleagues. If you want women to advance you have to help them and these conversations can be very productive.
King: And workplaces? What can we start doing there?
Kelly: I really believe we need to be more realistic about women and who they are in the workplace. I think if you make a woman choose between her children and her career she will choose her children. Every single time. If you are an employer don’t be an idiot! Make the workplace more amenable to the reality of working mothers. Why can’t we make it a little easier for women who have children? We need to start to rewrite these rules that were written for us by men.
Michelle King is a leading global gender equality expert, with a focus on advancing women in the changing world of work. To stay up to date follow Michelle @michpking.