For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
When the #MeToo movement became a hysterical crusade with men being attacked for bad dates & things they supposedly did for 20 years ago while any pushback was met with cries of “sexism,” “rape culture” and screams of “#believeallwomen,” men took notice that the level of risk in dealing with women had dramatically increased. That had real consequences,
LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey’s new #MentorHer poll reveals Friday that 60% of male managers report feeling “too nervous” about being accused of harassment to interact with women in “common workplace” activities such as mentoring, socializing and one-on-one meetings.
That’s a 32% spike from 2018, with an additional 36% of men saying they now actively avoid women in junior-level positions — effectively chopping down their shot at climbing the corporate ladder.
“The vast majority of managers and senior leaders are men,” says Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.org, in a statement. “If they are reluctant even to meet one-on-one with women, there’s no way women can get an equal shot at proving themselves.”
Widening the gender gap is actually an abuse of power, she says.
“We’re in a bad place — no one’s ever gotten promoted without a one-on-one meeting, I feel confident in saying that,” Sandberg tells “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King Friday. “Senior men right now are nine times more hesitant to travel with a woman and six times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner.”
Make no mistake about it, if you are a male boss, it’s riskier for you to mentor a woman than a man even if you do nothing wrong. It’s riskier because hyper-sensitive feminists have encouraged women to take an expansive view of sexual harassment and what they should be offended by. It’s riskier because many people also by default are going to take the woman’s side in any ambiguous situation. It’s riskier because an accusation is often treated as proof. In a low reward activity like mentoring, why work with high-risk Jenny, who might decide she could get an easy payday by accusing you of sexual harassment if she gets fired when you can work with no risk Jimmy?
When women like Sandberg start genuinely addressing the reasonable concerns men have about issues like this instead of demanding that we work against our own interests to benefit women, you’ll see things change. Until then, more and more men are going to learn to love the Pence Rule.