The #MeToo Backlash


An article on the unintended consequences and backlash after the #MeToo gained momentum.

Because the data was collected soon after the #MeToo movement gained momentum, and because much of it focused on expectations, the researchers conducted a follow-up survey (with different people) in early 2019. This revealed a bigger backlash than respondents had anticipated. For instance, 19% of men said they were reluctant to hire attractive women, 21% said they were reluctant to hire women for jobs involving close interpersonal interactions with men (jobs involving travel, say), and 27% said they avoided one-on-one meetings with female colleagues; only one of those numbers was lower in 2019 than the numbers projected the year before. The researchers say that some of the behaviors are manifestations of what is sometimes called the Mike Pence rule—a reference to the U.S. vice president’s refusal to dine with female colleagues unless his wife is present. “I’m not sure we were surprised by the numbers, but we were disappointed,” says Rachel Sturm, a professor at Wright State University who worked on the project. “When men say, ‘I’m not going to hire you, I’m not going to send you traveling, I’m going to exclude you from outings’—those are steps backward.”

The complete article

Leanne E. Atwater, Allison M. Tringale, Rachel E. Sturm, Scott N. Taylor, and Phillip W. Braddy — Harvard Business Review

2 thoughts on “The #MeToo Backlash

  1. Interesting. Sad. And yet, if I’m honest, I have to say I’m not surprised. It’s the same reason women have, for generations, worked to avoid being in positions where they have to travel with male co-workers, etc. It’s almost as if these respondents in the survey are now feeling that low-level underlying fear women have had for years. Though fear isn’t the right word. Maybe caution? Thanks for posting this and making me think.

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