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New study reveals the #MeToo movement has backfired: 'Those are steps backward'




The #MeToo movement, which seeks to expose powerful men with histories of sexual harassment and sexual assault, has had unintended consequences, a new study found.

The study, which is due to be published in the journal Organizational Dynamics, found that men have become more apprehensive about interacting with women at work for fear they too could be swept up by the movement.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the study found that:

  • 19 percent of men are now more reluctant to hire attractive women
  • 21 percent of men are more reluctant to hire women for jobs requiring close interaction
  • 27 percent of men avoid one-on-one interaction with female colleagues

The data, which was collected this year, showed that men have become even more apprehensive about interacting with female colleagues since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. The data showed an increase in apprehension compared to 2018, when the movement's fallout was still gaining momentum.

But it's not just men who are more fearful in the movement's wake. Researchers also found that women have become more apprehensive about interacting with other women in the workplace. However, data collected this year supporting this has not yet been publicly released.

Rachel Sturm, a Wright State University professor who worked on the study, told Harvard Business Review she was "disappointed" by the study's results.

"I'm not sure we were surprised by the numbers, but we were disappointed," she said. "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."

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