A majority of men in management positions are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman at the workplace in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era, according to new research released Friday.
According to the results from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey’s #MentorHer poll, 60 percent of male managers are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together.
This represents a 32 percent increase from a year ago since the media coverage on sexual harassment, showing that the #MeToo movement had unintended consequences.
Senior-level men are now far more hesitant to spend time with junior women than junior men across a range of basic work activities such as one-on-one meetings, travel, and work dinners.
The survey noted that 36 percent of men said they have avoided mentoring or socializing with a woman as they were nervous about how it would look.
However, the study called on men to support women instead of overlooking or avoiding them, as women are already underrepresented in senior levels at most organizations.
According to the study, the workplace becomes safer and fairer for everyone if women have the same opportunities to succeed and lead as men. This includes hiring women, giving them the stretch assignments that get them noticed, and promoting them.
Noting that mentorship is critical to the success of woman across industries, the report said the support can be especially impactful for women of color who are less likely to get career guidance from senior leaders and managers.
“When more women are in leadership, organizations offer employees more generous policies and produce better business results. And when organizations employ more women, sexual harassment is less prevalent,” the study said.
According to the report, sexual harassment remains pervasive in the workplace. 57 percent of women reported they have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, while 24 percent of women said harassment is on the rise.
In contrast, 27 percent of men said that harassment is decreasing, while 50 percent of men also said that the consequences are more damaging to the careers of the harassers, and not victims.
However, 70 percent of employees said their company has taken action to address sexual harassment, representing a sharp increase from just 46 percent in 2018.
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