There have been a lot of reactions to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements; many women feel vindicated and emboldened, while others worry about an inevitable backlash. According to two national surveys from LeanIn and SurveyMonkey (one of 2,950 employed adults and the other of 5,907 employed adults), some men are reacting to the #MeToo movement by deciding to distance themselves from interacting with their female colleagues.
The studies found that 45% of male managers report that they are now “uncomfortable” mentoring, working alone with, or socializing with junior-level female employees.
LeanIn’s response to this depressing news is to launch a campaign urging men to mentor women called #MentorHer. It makes sense since research has shown that male mentors and advocates in the workplace have the ability to help women’s careers in a way mentorships with women don’t (not to mention that there are simply fewer women in senior positions to mentor in the first place).
While there may be a need for such a campaign–how effective it will be is debatable–it’s pretty sad commentary that nearly half of the professional men they surveyed either feel like they can’t control themselves around the women they work with or that they will be falsely accused (something that is extremely rare–around 2% by some counts).