‘Gender Segregation’: New Report Reveals a Massive #MeToo Downside for Women in Business

(Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

The #MeToo movement was supposed to empower women, but it may be having the opposite effect in the workplace.

According to a new report by Bloomberg, businesses are becoming hyperaware of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, but their actions are only holding women back further.

The report says that many companies have done away with one-on-one meetings between coworkers of the opposite sex, booking rooms in separate hotels for business travel, and banning dinners with female colleagues.

All of this is happening because companies are afraid of sexual harassment allegations.

“It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, told Bloomberg.

Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison, explained to Bloomberg how this segregation could hurt women’s chances of progressing in the workplace and make companies liable for discrimination.

“If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”

According to the report, some of the men have a fear of being falsely accused of sexual harassment. They see the gender isolation as the only precaution they can take to ensure they cannot be accused of something they didn’t do.

Although the #MeToo movement started out to draw attention to the problem of sexual harassment, some fear that it has gone too far.

One of the major criticisms of the movement is related to due process for the accused. This played out on the national stage during the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Several accusations came forward with almost no corroborative evidence. Some of the accusers even admitted they stretched the facts and gave false statements to the Senate investigators. Still, many wanted to block the judge’s confirmation.

Clearly, the next step for the #MeToo movement will need to be finding the balance to ensure that women are protected without being isolated.

What do you think?

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Neal Mcclung
Member

HA HA ! Serves these women right’ It is called unintended consequences. All of this political correctness has gone crazy and out of kilter. PC needs to be kicked in the behind permanently and let society handle things the way it was for millions of years. The smart people and the strong people survive and excel. There will always be a pecking order.

Lizzie Helmer
Editor

It’s unfair to women workers that men’s ability to be with their coworkers hurts the women and not the guys that refuse to collaborate, travel, etc. Instead of avoidance, companies need to thoroughly explain and train employees on sexual harassment. This effect is for sure a downside, but in my opinion, the positives of getting creeps out of positions of power far outweigh the negatives.

Donald
Member

I have long advocated that no employer should attempt to “prohibit” consensual dating between staff members, after the workday has completed. To do so is a violation of Civil Rights, of privacy and free association. You can add Constitutional Rights, if the employer is a government agency.

Screwtape
Member

So….male/female workplace encounters present exposure to charges of harassment. Not allowing these interactions presents the hazard of discrimination. *sigh*

How about having chaperones? It will up the company’s expenses, but save on attorney’s fees. I’m sure HR will jump at the chance to be present at ALL interactions as part of their job description.

Phoenix
Member

An overreaction in the wrong direction for some companies then. There are better ways to make sure everyone in the company knows where the line is and how to address things when a line has been crossed.

I haven’t noticed anything different in my travel or company policy. However, we never have anyone share rooms, even when groups are traveling together to the same location.

Sam Dorman
Editor

Wow, this is super interesting to hear about the unintended consequences of this type of movement.

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