The #metoo movement has exposed many appalling things about the treatment of women, including the discrimination and harassment they still face in the workplace. This sort of toxicity takes a toll on the employees’ well-being and as a result, affects the company as a whole. A former British civil servant Neta Meidav is combating workplace harassment through a blockchain-based app Vault she’s created. The solution is to be piloted for the first time in March by several companies.
How does Vault Work?
The blockchain-powered counter-harassment platform allows the employees to record and report harassment and discrimination in a digital space. If a report is part of a pattern of other ones against the same perpetrator, it’s flagged up, and the employee is notified. They are then provided with a digital receipt as evidence.
The blockchain feature excludes any possibility of tampering with the complaints. The “strength-in-numbers” feature of flagging up a pattern of abuse by the same individual was created to further encourage people to speak up. This combination of technology and psychology can really be argued to be a breakthrough.
After all, technology by itself can only go so far, and if people don’t feel as though they’re alone, there’s a higher chance of them feeling empowered to report the offenses. Essex University professor of leadership and organization Elisabeth Kelan agrees that “apps by themselves cannot create a <culture of challenging sexual harassment>”. Senior managers must do their part in sanctioning this behavior, she argues.
Vault seems to fill that gap between a mere reporting tool, of which there are plenty on the market and the negligence of the people in charge. The secure channels, combined with the possibility of collective reporting actions (which is always left up to the people and their identities are kept anonymous throughout the process), increase trust and confidence. See in the video below how Vault works in practice:
Can it really bring change?
Meidav certainly thinks so. According to her, people “can’t go on harassing if there’s technology that allows people to go after them and submit complaints together”. For too long, the culture that had failed women and was less than welcoming towards them was prevalent in the corporate world. They had no choice but to fight back on their own, with little support from the companies. If Vault, by combining psychology and technology, can make a dent in that culture, perhaps technology can truly make the world a better place.
YouTube: Vault – You’re in a safe place.
Photo credit: The feature image “full focus at a coffee shop” has been done by Tim Gouw. The photo “together now” has been taken by John Schnobrich.
Sources: Neta Meidav (Medium) / Mary Ellen Slayter (Unleash) / Suzanne Bearne (BBC.com) / Naomi Ackerman (The Evening Standard)