Has the #MeToo movement been effective in decreasing instances of sexual harassment in the workplace?
The #MeToo movement came about in response to the frequent and pervasive accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault throughout the country. Specifically, the #MeToo movement attempts to call out and focus on sexual harassment in the workplace.
A #MeToo Movement Study
The #MeToo movement began in 2016 through social activism. In one study analyzing the effects of the #MeToo movement, surveyors asked 250 working women in the United States in 2016 about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in their workplace. Later in 2018, the surveyors conducted a second study asking 263 women whether or not they have seen changes or have changed their outlook.
The survey measured sexual harassment in three categories: sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and gender harassment. In the study’s terms, sexual coercion includes pressuring fellow female employees to engage in sexual behavior. Unwanted sexual attention involves any unwanted touching or staring. Finally, gender harassment includes non-sexual discrimination against female employees. The study also measured the participants’ self-esteem and self-doubt, to see if this had any correlative relationship with their experiences.
Results of the Study
In the initial 2016 study, 25% of women reported sexual coercion in the workplace. However, in the 2018 study, that number declined to 16%. Similarly, 66% of the women reported unwanted sexual attention in 2016, while 25% reported this in 2018.
In contrast, the study found an increase in incidences of gender harassment. In 2016, 76% of the women in the study experienced gender harassment which increased to 92% just two years later.
The study concluded that although there may have been a decrease in blatant sexual harassment and assault, there may be an increase in gender hostility and discrimination in the workplace.
Also, the study saw an increase in the women’s self-esteem and a decrease in their self-doubt since 2016. The women interviewed told the surveyors that the #MeToo movement helped them realize they were not alone in their experiences.
According to the study, there has been a decrease in sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention in the workplace in the last two years. However, the study also reports an increase in gender discrimination and harassment. Proponents of the study believe this could be a “backlash” to the #MeToo movement itself.
Although the study shows that sexual harassment in the workplace has changed since the #MeToo movement began, there is a long way to go. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination both still frequently occur in the workplace. Employees are subjected to sexual harassment by their employers or coworkers. Employees can also face discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation. Even though many feel more comfortable sharing their experiences, others still stay silent.
The #MeToo movement has helped, but it has not eliminated the problem. If you have experienced sexual harassment or gender discrimination at work, you are not alone.
Middletown Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. Represent Victims of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination
You should always feel comfortable and safe where you work. If you have experienced sexual harassment or gender discrimination, the Middletown sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. can help you. Please call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, OR contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent all clients in Middletown, Cherry Hill, and throughout New Jersey.