The founder of a Manchester-based tech for good start-up is calling on businesses across the UK to take responsibility for how their employees are treated.
In a city that started the feminist movement, Gemma McCall is aiming to tackle the problem of harassment and abuse in educational establishments, workplaces and anywhere that people encounter poor behaviour from those around them.
She started online platform Culture Shift last year with Carl Sadd and Stuart Bradley with the aim of using technology to create positive change for people all over the world.
Its first product ‘Report + Support’ is an online reporting tool which allows organisations to keep their team and visitors safe by giving them a platform to report harassment and seek support.
Users can make a formal report with contact details or make an anonymous report, allowing organisations to analyse trends and identify patterns of behaviour, even when victims don’t yet feel confident enough to make a named report.
It is working with over 30 UK universities to implement the system, creating safer campuses for tens of thousands of students.
“The #MeToo movement has been a huge catalyst for change, empowering survivors of sexual harassment to share their stories, and giving many organisations the kick they needed to stamp out unacceptable behaviour, and stop sweeping problems under the carpet,” said MD McCall.
“However, this type of behaviour is still all too common, and it definitely isn’t limited to Hollywood.
“Statistically half of British women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work, or a place of study, which simply isn’t OK.
“We hope that Report + Support will enable universities to implement training and campaigns that eventually stamp out sexual harassment and bullying on campus.”
Having made a massive impact on the higher education sector in just over a year, Culture Shift now has its sights set on the corporate sector, hoping to help businesses tackle harassment and abuse by giving victims a meaningful platform to raise their concerns.
McCall explained: “It’s time for businesses to take responsibility for the safety and happiness of people in their teams, and to help break the culture of silence by offering them a safe and secure way to report incidents.”
Sadd said that Manchester was the ideal place to launch the business.
“Manchester has always been a city at the forefront of innovation,” he said. “Launching a tech start-up here means we’re not short of inspiring stories of businesses that have done incredibly well in the sector, right on our doorstep.
“The fact that Manchester is becoming a formidable tech hub means we’ve got a lot of talent in the region, something that’s important for us as we look to grow and expand our team.
“Tech for good is a really interesting sector to be in, and we’re all incredibly proud to be using technology to make a positive impact all over the world.”