Author Joanne Lipman said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent reported behavior toward women feeds into institutional sexism and fuels the enormous disparities in pay, promotion, and opportunity.
“When we marginalize them [women], we don’t value them as much,” Lipman said on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.” “When we don’t value them as much, we don’t pay them as much, or promote them as much, or give them the mentoring, and it all feeds into this continued institutional sexism that has really prevented us from making the moves we’ve needed to make since the #MeToo movement.”
The pressure is building for Cuomo to resign after a third woman accused him of unwanted advances.
Lipman, who wrote “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together,” explained to host Shepard Smith that while Cuomo’s actions might not have been physical abuse, his “casual sexism” impedes equality for all.
“When you’ve got guys like Cuomo — people in positions of leadership — who talk a really good game about equality for women and equality for people of color, but then you have these actions that sort of go in the face of it, it really, really diminishes the words that they’re saying. And it really harms the cause of equality for all of us,” said Lipman.
The third woman to come forward, Anna Ruch, said she met Cuomo at a wedding in 2019 where he placed his hand on her lower back, put his hands on her cheeks, and asked if he could kiss her, according to the New York Times. Cuomo has not commented on the accusation.
The White House on Tuesday confirmed that Ruch worked on the Biden campaign as an organizer in Southwest Florida.
“I can certainly speak on behalf of the president and the vice president, and so let me reiterate that they both believe that every woman coming forward should be heard, should be treated with dignity, and treated with respect,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
Ruch did not work for Cuomo but the other two women, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, are former aides who both alleged sexual harassment. Cuomo denied Boylan’s claim outright. He also refuted Bennett’s accusations and said his words were “misinterpreted.”
Lipman explained that society now has a much more heightened sense of awareness of what constitutes inappropriate behavior since the #MeToo movement, and are, therefore, more likely to call it out.
“I mean, in the three years since the #MeToo movement erupted we know what the rules of the road are, and it is so infuriating to so many women to see this kind of behavior persist,” said Lipman.
New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into Cuomo Monday as calls for him to resign have grown from within his own party.
U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-Long Island, became the first Democrat to call for Cuomo to step down Monday night via Twitter. Six Democratic state lawmakers from the New York State Senate and Assembly released a statement Tuesday and called for Cuomo to be impeached.