Study Finds That #MeToo Movement Has Had Unintended Consequences in the Hiring of Women


A new study finds that some unintended consequences have arisen from the #MeToo movement that may be harming women in the workplace.

“Most of the reaction to #MeToo was celebratory; it assumed women were really going to benefit,” researcher Leanne Atwater, a management professor at the University of Houston, told the Harvard Business Review.

Atwater and some of her colleagues had their doubts.

“We said, ‘We aren’t sure this is going to go as positively as people think — there may be some fallout,’” she recounted.

The researchers created two surveys — one for men and one for women — and distributed them to workers in a wide variety of industries in 2018.

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To further gauge the impact of the #MeToo movement over time, the researchers sent out additional surveys to different people in early 2019.

The move was designed to put some distance between the original bombshell stories of 2017 and 2018 and workers’ responses.

The results were surprising.

For example, 16 percent of men reported in 2018 they would be more reluctant to hire attractive women; that percentage went up to 19 percent in 2019.

In 2018, 15 percent of men said they would be more reluctant to hire women for positions involving close interpersonal interaction. In 2019, the number increased to 21 percent.

One decrease was in the number of men who said they would be more reluctant to have one-on-one meetings with women.

In 2018, 41 percent of men reported they would be reluctant. That number dropped to 27 percent in 2019.

Additionally, 22 percent of men and 44 percent of women said that men were more likely to exclude women from social interactions in the aftermath of #MeToo.

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Not all the findings concerning the impact of the #MeToo movement were negative, however.

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“For instance, 74% of women said they thought they would be more willing now to speak out against harassment, and 77% of men anticipated being more careful about potentially inappropriate behavior,” the Harvard Business Review noted.

“I’m not sure we were surprised by the numbers, but we were disappointed,” said Rachel Sturm, a professor at Wright State University who worked on the research study.

“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,” Sturm explained.

As the old adage goes, for every action there is a reaction — and reactions can often be unexpected.

No one knows how the #MeToo movement will play out over time, but for now, it appears a significant number of men have reacted with caution as they decide how best to navigate the new era.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith