The rise of female whistleblowers

Andrea Hickerson at the Oxford Bibliographies: “Until recently, I firmly believed whistleblowers would increasingly turn to secure, anonymizing tools and websites, like WikiLeaks, to share their data rather than take the risk of relying on a journalist to protect their identity. Now, however, WikiLeaks is implicated in aiding the election of Donald Trump, and “The Silence Breakers,” outspoken victims of sexual assault, are Time’s 2017 Person of the Year.

Not only is this moment remarkable because of the willingness of whistleblowers to come forward and show their faces, but also because women are the ones blowing the whistle. With the notable exception of Chelsea Manning who herself did not choose to be identified, the most well-known whistleblowers in modern history, arguably Daniel EllsbergEdward Snowden, and Jeffrey Wigand, are all men.

Research suggests key individual and organizational attributes that lend themselves to whistleblowing. On the individual level, people motivated by strong moral values or self-identity might be more likely to act. At the organizational level, individuals are more likely to report wrongdoing if they believe they will be listened to.

People who have faith in the organizations they work for are more likely to report wrongdoing internally. Those who don’t have faith look to the government, reporters, and/or hire lawyers to expose the wrongdoings.

Historically, women wouldn’t have been likely candidates to report internally becausethey haven’t been listened to or empowered in the workplace  At work they are  undervalued,underrepresented in leadership roles, and underpaid compared to male colleagues. This signals to women that their concerns will not be taken seriously or instigate change. Therefore, many choose to remain silent.

Whistleblowing comes with enormous risks, and those risks are greater for women….(More)”.