What New Policies Are Companies Implementing After #MeToo? In Most Cases, None


Woman sad at work


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
April 18, 2024 at 10:49AM UTC
Only 32 percent of American employees said their workplaces have taken action to prevent sexual harassment since the MeToo movement, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association.
“The #MeToo movement has given business leaders an opportunity to finally take real action addressing a complex problem that has been pervasive for generations,” said the director of the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, David Ballard, in a statement.
But the report, which surveyed 1,512 working adults in the United States, shows that business leaders have not done so.
Just 18 percent of respondents said their workplaces simply reminded employees of the already-implemented policies on sexual harassment. Ten percent claimed their employers updated their resources and training regarding sexual harassment. Eight percent said their place of employment made existing policies more strict, and only 7 percent said their employer hosted a staff meeting or town hall on sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Our survey — as well as anecdotal reports — shows that too few employers are making comprehensive efforts that can have significant impact. Avoiding the issue is bad for employee well-being and business, but so, too, is a narrow, compliance-based approach,” Ballard also said.
“We know from psychological science that relying solely on mandated training designed primarily to limit the organization’s legal liability is unlikely to be effective," he continued.
Another recent survey conducted by Fairygodboss, The Female Quotient, and Progyny, discovered that men and women agree on the lack of action employers are taking in light of MeToo. Of the 400 people surveyed, 78 percent of men and 75 percent of women believe MeToo has not had a noticeable effect on their workplace.
"We’re always curious to see if what’s happening in the media actually reflects what everyday men and women are experiencing,” Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-Founder of Fairygodboss, said.
“While the #MeToo movement has captured national attention, our survey shows that there is a lot more work to do to make a real impact in workplaces across the country," she continued.
The survey also discovered that female employees are more likely to be promoted by other females, and male employees are more likely to be promoted by other males. Only 30 percent of the women surveyed who have been promoted said they were promoted by a man, while 52 percent of the men surveyed who have been promoted said they were promoted by a man. Thirty-seven percent of women who have been promoted were promoted by a woman, while only 19 percent of the men said the same.
According to the APA suvey, in the companies that have made an effort to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, employees are more likely to report sexual misconduct, as well as confront a peer they witness committing sexual misconduct of any kind. Employees at these companies are also more likely to report greater job satisfaction and good mental health.
In the same survey, workers at companies with equal representation of females in senior roles were almost twice as likely as those with opposing statistics to impose new regulations addressing workplace sexual harassment.
The APA report also conveyed a positive statistc: 51 percent of respondents said they were more likely after MeToo to report sexual harassment in the workplace, and 29 percent claimed they would leave their positition if their employer did not take the necessary action against sexual misconduct. 
“The #MeToo movement has been instrumental in helping us break the silence and create consequences for bad behavior. It’s given us the confidence to speak up and speak out, because we’re all in this together,” said Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient.
“Now we need to create solutions for change, and accountability for action. Transformation must include men and women working together.”

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