Instead of using MeToo as a learning opportunity to become more aware of the harassment most women generally face in the world at large and in the workplace specifically, a new study has found that many men have decided to go the opposite route and simply avoid women in the workplace full-stop.
The study out of the University of Houston was conducted across a range of industries and surveyed both men and women in 2018 at the height of MeToo and then again in early 2019 after the conversation had died down a bit.
The 2019 survey found that 27 percent of men surveyed have gone the Mike Pence route and now avoid one-on-one meetings with woman co-workers, 21 percent said they would now be more reluctant to hire women for roles that require close interaction, and 19 percent are reluctant to hire an “attractive” woman. Those numbers are up from 2018 when only 15 percent of men admitted to discriminating against women they wanted to bone.
And while many men said they were more likely to be sexist following reports of sexism because they can no longer tell which behaviors are making co-workers uncomfortable, the study also found that men and women pretty much agree on what constitutes harassment.
The survey asked both men and women to classify 19 behaviors as harassment or not harassment, including “continuing to ask a female subordinate out after she has said no, emailing sexual jokes to a female subordinate, and commenting on a female subordinate’s looks.” The results found that there was a consensus among men and women about which behaviors were harassing, save for three that men were more likely to consider harassment than women, which suggests that the 20 percent of men who said they had “maybe” harassed a co-worker in the past know damn well they did. From The Guardian:
“‘Most men know what sexual harassment is, and most women know what it is,’ Leanne Atwater, a professor at the University of Houston and one of the study’s authors, told the Harvard Business Review. ‘The idea that men don’t know their behavior is bad and that women are making a mountain out of a molehill is largely untrue. If anything, women are more lenient in defining harassment.’”
Based on the study results, researchers recommend that workplace harassment training focus less on identifying harassing behavior since workers are pretty well able to identify it themselves and instead “implement training that educates employees about sexism and character.” So now everyone has to sit through more boring training days so that a third of men in the office can learn how to pretend women are human every day from nine to five. Cool, thanks guys.