A new poll highlighted by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found that a majority of male managers are uncomfortable mentoring female employees one-on-one in the #MeToo era.
“The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have brought huge attention to the challenges women face at work, but a new survey finds that 60% of male managers say they’re uncomfortable mentoring, working one-on-one or socializing with a woman,” reports CNBC, noting that poll results are a 33% increase from last year.
Senior-level men say they are now “12 times more likely to be hesitant about one-on-one meetings with a junior woman than they are a junior man, nine times more likely to be hesitant to travel with a junior woman for work than a junior man, and six times more likely to be hesitant to have a work dinner with a junior woman than a junior man,” CNBC reports.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a link to the CNBC article Sunday with a comment that puts the onus on men. “Is it really that hard to not be creepy?” she wrote.
As pointed out by Twitchy, the feminist congresswoman’s post has sparked blowback online. “No, it’s not that men are inherently creepy. It’s that they’re afraid they’ll be interpreted as creepy, in the era of Me Too and overreactions,” wrote one follower in a sentiment echoed by many others. “The fact that people assume sexism and creepiness says it all. That is why they’re uncomfortable,” wrote another. “Tone deaf comment. There are a lot of bad guys out there who have done bad things but there[‘s] also women who have exploited others pain for their gain and made false claims against good men. Women can be sharks too and it’s a delicate situation that requires trust from both,” said another.
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez also has her defenders. “That’s not totally incorrect so much as incomplete[.] Think about it, before, misinterpreted or otherwise, men were free to act as they pleased with [virtually] no consideration for women at all—That’s pretty much the definition of patriarchy. Now, they have to think before they act,” wrote one sympathetic feminist. “Most sexism is programmed into the brain. Men don’t write in their calendars, ‘I plan to be a sexist ahole today.’ But then they go to work and act out the sexism they were programmed by society to think is normal. Their confusion is not #MeToo ‘s fault,” wrote another defender of the feminist movement.
That post triggered its own response from a twitterer less sympathetic to the cause: “US society doesn’t program us to be sexist, it programs us to not be sexist. There are examples all over media and in schools.”
The survey results reported by CNBC were first released by LeanIn.org, which is urging men to “commit to mentor women.”
“Not harassing women is not enough,” says the feminist organization. “Now more than ever, we need men to support women–not overlook or avoid them. When women have the same opportunities to succeed and lead as men, it makes the workplace safer and fairer for everyone. We need to actively support women at work, including by mentoring and sponsoring them. Men—who are the majority of managers and senior leaders—can help make this happen.”