Men are Afraid to Work with Women Because of #MeToo

The world had not been the same since men discovered how terrible it is to be a woman in the workplace. In the time since #MeToo, men’s entire worldview has shifted. But instead of looking at this “post-#MeToo” world and thinking “how can I help the women around me feel more comfortable?” men in senior positions are, apparently, looking around and wondering how they can shield themselves from potential harassment claims.

The answer to that question seems to be: avoid women at all costs.

At least that’s what a new survey by LeanIn.org and Survey Monkey suggests. They found that many men feel uncomfortable working with women and are hesitant to participate with women in normal working activities.

Now more than ever we need male managers to step up and support female workers. Instead, 60 percent of those managers—32 percent more than a year ago—say they feel uncomfortable participating in normal work activities with women like mentoring, working alone or socializing.

Senior-level men are now 12 times more hesitant to have one-on-one meetings with women, nine times more hesitant to travel together for work and six times more hesitant to have work dinners. Probably because up until now they thought they could get away with harassing or assaulting us on these dinners and trips. Now they realize there’s a slight chance there could be consequences for doing so.

More than one-third of men who participated in the survey said the reason for their hesitance is that they are “nervous about how it would look.”

Obviously, when most leaders in the workplace are men, their avoidance of women will have negative consequences—for women. When women aren’t included and don’t have the same access to mentoring or meetings, they’re not able to excel in the same way as men and won’t have the same social currency at work to lean on. When women aren’t able to build the same kind of work relationships as men, they won’t be as easily considered for opportunities or promotions.

Perhaps most striking are the vast differences in how men and women view workplace harassment. More than half of women say they’ve experienced workplace sexual harassment and almost a quarter say sexual harassment is on the rise.

More men, on the other hand, think harassment is decreasing, and half of men think the consequences of harassment are more damaging to the careers of perpetrator than of the victim. Women obviously disagree. Men only think this because they’ve seen a handful of men briefly face consequences for their own actions before making comeback tours, and now they think their reign has ended.

Simply abstaining from harassment is not enough. Men need to actively promote women’s careers instead of avoiding them at all costs. By holding back from mentoring or participating in work activities with women, men are stalling women’s careers. Sure, it’s still probably better than being harassed, but we shouldn’t have to choose between missing out on career opportunities because we’re being harassed or missing those opportunities because men are afraid to look like harassers.

The simple solution here is for men to learn what is and is not appropriate workplace behavior and then just treat women like people. It’s really not that hard.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

71 comments

Paula M
Paula M3 days ago

thank you

SEND
Ray P
Ray Pinpillage6 days ago

Again, women resort to using shaming language. Men are not "afraid", they are smart. Ladies, you brought this upon yourselves. The lesson you need to learn about life if that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. You wanted men to leave you alone, well, we have. Don't whine over it now.

SEND
Barbara S
Barbara S6 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Anna R
Alice R9 days ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Emma L
Past Member 11 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson11 days ago

@Richard Anonymous---The reason some women may be hypersensitive, or judgemental about male behavior is because of the experiences they may have been subjected to. In the words of Margaret Atwood: "Men are afraid that Women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." Men and Women live in different worlds. Perspectives of men and Women on safety are so different. If you have never been subjected to Sexual H. you cannot possibly know how horrible it can be. No doesn't mean NO to these types of men. It hasn't been that long ago since the battle cry was--"when a woman say's NO she really means YES!" This was heard in Movies, advertising, etc. And, as most men, that I know, do not act like an animal in heat, as soon as a woman enters the room; I have serious doubts that this is just a biological problem.

SEND
Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin15 days ago

would they prefer if women were afraid to go to work?

SEND
Richard Anonymous

Men and women being together in society is a very good thing. Mixed workplaces are very good for teaching gender harmony and mutual respect. As I elaborate in detail on my profile page, because of how men are biologically, there will always be the need for education on proper conduct and the certaininty of discipline for sexual misconduct for men. However, women have a moral responsibility not to have double standards in terms of how they interpret things. If something is not right for a man to do, a woman should not feel free to do it. If soemthing is okay for a woman to do, it should be okay for a man to do.

SEND
Richard A

Karen, I agree with your comment about it being right for the genders to be able to be together and get along together.

Lisa, I appreciate your understanding comments about men. There are such double standards in the workplace. I have had women in the workplace place a hand on my leg when chatting with me while sitting beside me (without a care in the world on their minds). Meanwhile, I was thinking how that exact same "friendly" or "innocent" act would be interpreted so differently by them if I was the one doing it. One time, a female coworker announced publicly how a previous male employee was a pervert because he hugged her once. I responded by pointing out that she had once hugged me so how does that make someone a pervert? She had no answer. Women feel very unrestriced about touching or praising men or women in the workplace, but can be very judgemental or hypersensitive about male behavior

SEND
Marija Mohoric
Marija Mohoric29 days ago

Interesting..-.tks.

SEND