A new community for women exposing corporate and government fraud, Women Whistleblowers, announced its official launch on October 24th. A combination of a website, Facebook group, and other online resources, Women Whistleblowers is geared toward bringing whistleblowers out of the shadows and helping everyone understand the extraordinary impact that women play in reporting fraud in the workplace.
For years, while men have dominated the boardroom, women have watched from the sidelines. In those positions, they are ironically better placed to observe fraud. Combined with a willingness to take moral risks and lower tolerance for business risk, women have blown open some of the most significant fraud cases in the country, including JP Morgan Chase, WorldCom, and the Enron scandal that toppled the company.
The Women Whistleblowers website, located at womenwhistleblowers.com, features articles, interviews, and reports about women who have followed their consciences and stepped forward to protect those in weaker positions. The site also features a Facebook page and Twitter feed that provides the latest news on women whistleblowers.
The site focuses on why women make great whistleblowers. One reason is that women risk less by speaking up because they’re not part of the good old boys’ network. Another reason is that women have a protective instinct to speak up, attributed to the “motherhood gene.”
The group believes that for every high-profile whistleblower, such as Erin Brockovich (PG&E) Sherron Watkins (Enron) and Karen Silkwood (Kerr-McGee), there are many more courageous women ready to speak up. In some industries, like healthcare, banking and government administration, women are kept out of the boardroom and often relegated to bookkeeping duties, placing them in ideal positions to observe and record wrongdoing. Healthcare is the best example, since 80 percent of employees are women. Healthcare whistleblower cases commonly involve hospital systems, doctor’s offices, pharmaceutical companies, medical testing facilities, Medicare providers and health insurance companies.
“We hope to start a movement where women who observe wrongdoing can report it, fight back and win,” said Jessica Copen, a senior writer and reporter for the site. “With the right law firm behind it, Women Whistleblowers has the potential to change the business landscape significantly and expose the egregious cases of fraud happening in boardrooms all across the country.”