- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Male managers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with mentoring women in the wake of the #MeToo movement, a new study has found.

Since allegations of sexual assault were first made public in October against now-disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, hundreds of women in Hollywood, politics and media have come forward to report rampant sexual harassment and abuses. While the movement has sparked a cultural shift in how the country views sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has also reportedly had the unintended consequence of alienating male managers and hurting women’s employment opportunities and chances of being promoted.

A study conducted in recent weeks by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit organization LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey found that almost half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together, and that almost 30 percent of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a woman — more than twice as many as before.

“The number of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled from 5% to 16%. This means that 1 in 6 male managers may now hesitate to mentor a woman,” the findings said. “Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior-level woman than with a junior-level man — and 5 times more likely to hesitate to travel for work with a junior-level woman.”

LeanIn.Org has responded by launching a #MentorHer campaign encouraging men to mentor female employees.



“People with mentors are more likely to get promotions — yet women are less likely than men to be mentored, and women of color get the least support of all,” Ms. Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “If we’re going to change the power imbalance that enables so much sexual harassment in the first place, we need to ensure women get more mentorship and sponsorship, not less. That’s how we get the stretch assignments that lead to promotions. That’s how we build the networks that put us on the path to exciting opportunities. That’s how we get the respect — and recognition — we deserve.”

A number of male business leaders have already pledged their commitment to the #MentorHer campaign, including LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

The LeanIn.Org poll, conducted by SurveyMonkey, surveyed 2,950 employed adults online from Jan. 23–25, with a margin of error of plus and minus 2.5 percent. The question about senior men was conducted Feb. 1–4 among a national sample of 5,907 employed adults.

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