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Former Fox News anchor Gretchen E. Carlson spoke about her new book, "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back," at a Tuesday afternoon seminar hosted by the student-run group Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business.
Carlson, who left Fox News in June 2016, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger E. Ailes in July of the same year. This action, which she described as “probably the biggest decision of my life,” sparked an international conversation about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and gender-based inequalities in the workplace.
Carlson said Tuesday that the idea for "Be Fierce" arose after she received thousands of letters from women across industries in the weeks after her lawsuit became public.
“I started printing off all these stories in my home office, and I was like, ‘Gosh, I better do something with all of these stories,’” Carlson said. “The one thing they all said to me was, ‘Nobody ever heard my voice.’ And they felt that because my case was so public, that I had become their voice, and I felt this sense of duty to honor them in writing the book of their stories.”
During her talk, Carlson emphasized the importance of talking about sexual harassment on college campuses as a means of preventing such behavior in the workplace.
“Sexual assault is a huge thing on college campuses and is very akin to harassment in the sense that women don’t feel safe coming forward,” she said. “My main piece of advice is just to really open up the dialogue about all of these issues and not try to shove it away and pretend like it’s not going on.”
Emily R. Johnson ’18-’19, who attended the event, said she appreciated Carlson’s forthrightness.
“It’s just impressive to me, just the timeliness of it all, and it definitely helps to hear from someone who is really open about it,” Johnson said.
Charlotte Kim ’20, one of the leaders of Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business, said the decision to invite Carlson to campus was meant to reinforce the group’s mission of “empowering young women through business education and experience.”
“We’re trying to create a space for women to feel empowered in the workplace,” Kim said. “We thought that [Carlson’s] message really aligned with our goals because it’s all about equality in the workforce.”
“She has been a huge advocate for women’s rights, she has been a pioneer, so we thought it definitely made sense to bring her in,” she added.
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