The MeToo movement drew attention to sexual harassment in a range of major New York industries, including entertainment, media and tech. Sparked by the revelations of high-flying Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s harassment of actresses, MeToo encouraged women to tell their stories of sexual harassment on the job and hold perpetrators publicly accountable. Many activists hoped to see long-term results that could make the workplace more inclusive and safer for all. However, some study results indicate that the aftermath of MeToo is not leading to less harassment but to new forms of discrimination against women.
A survey conducted by University of Houston researchers asked men and women in a number of industries to respond to questions about workplace sexual harassment. The survey was carried out twice, once in 2018 and once in 2019 after the widespread attention generated by MeToo had dissipated from its high-profile media focus. According to the survey results, 27% of men said that they planned to avoid meeting alone with female co-workers in order to avoid potential allegations of sexual harassment. Women are the victims once again of this behavior, however, as indicated by other responses by male participants. Over 20% said that they were less eager to hire women for jobs with close personal interaction, and 19% were hesitant to hire women they deemed “attractive.”
All of these results indicated a spike in sex discrimination after the 2018 survey results. In 2018, only 15% said that they would be reluctant to hire an attractive woman. Researchers urged more education about the impact of sexism and discrimination.
Women continue to suffer from unwanted sexual advances, retaliation and other forms of gender discrimination at work. People who have been subject to sexual harassment on the job may consult with an employment law attorney about options to take action for justice and accountability.