The #MeToo movement has brought a much-needed “sea change” to the media industry, says Jean Chatzky, a personal finance journalist and longtime contributor to NBC’s “Today” show.
For more than two decades, Chatzky worked alongside “Today” show co-anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired in November 2017 amid sexual assault allegations. Chatzky said she did not experience sexual harassment at the show but criticized an industry-wide culture of tolerating the misconduct.
“It was unfortunately for many decades just the way it was,” says Chatzky, the financial editor at “Today” since 1995. “Women didn’t feel empowered to push back.”
“Fortunately, that has changed, and women feel comfortable saying, this is not right,” she says.
In comments that aired on Yahoo Finance on the eve of International Women’s Day, on March 8, Chatzky praised #MeToo as an example of women asserting themselves in the workplace.
“Women need to feel empowered in order to step up and ask for what we deserve and ask for a level playing field, and ask for transparency,” she says. “And I think it's one in the same.”
Chatzky made the comments to Editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
In addition to her work at “Today,” Chatzky has reported on personal finance for years in outlets like Smart Money and Money Magazine. She is also an adviser for AARP and Fidelity Investments. Last year, she launched a website and podcast HerMoney that focuses on financial topics important to women.
Despite her criticism of how the industry has treated women, Chatzky said her gender helped her succeed at “Today.”
“When I started talking about money on television, I was highly unusual,” she says. “There were a lot of men older than me with gray hair in suits who were having the same sorts of conversations.”
“The reason that I stuck on the ‘Today’ was hearing this information coming out of a different kind of being, somebody who was petite, and had a higher voice and was maybe a little less threatening and authoritative,” she says. “It totally helped.”
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance.