Sexual assaults: According to the study, #MeToo has slightly improved the situation in the workplace
Women in the US report being less likely to experience severe sexual assault. But a large majority was already harassed in the workplace.
According to one study, the situation at the workplace for women in the US has improved slightly after the #MeToo debate on everyday sexism. In recent polls, fewer American women have reported experiencing severe abuses such as sexual assault or begging, according to researchers at the Leeds School of Business, Boulder University, Colorado. In total, 87 percent of the women surveyed reported being molested at least once.
The researchers compared data from the years 2016 and 2018. It is the first such analysis on changes in the workplace since the beginning of the # MeToo debate in October 2017, write the scientists in the journal PLOS ONE . In total, they interviewed more than 500 women aged 25 to 45 years on incidents of sexual harassment at work and their self-esteem.
The first survey of 250 women took place in September 2016, the second with 263 women in September 2018. The researchers suggest that potential perpetrators are deterred for fear of revelations and negative repercussions in #MeToo.
Many of the women surveyed said in 2016 that they were either out of shame or fearful of assault or even guilty. In 2018, more women declared their willingness to address incidents, also strengthened by the experiences and solidarity of other women.
Further studies needed
The authors point out that further studies are needed to confirm the observations and to analyze the causes. "The brave women involved in the MeToo and Time's Up movement should know that their efforts are making a difference."
The disclosure of allegations of sexual abuse by dozens of women against film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017 triggered a worldwide debate on sexism, sexual harassment and coercion, which was referred to as #MeToo (including me). The producer has now admitted misconduct, but repeatedly denied allegations of non-consensual sex. Weinstein is currently awaiting trial in New York.
#MeToo has become an international movement in the meantime, as has Time's Up. In 2018, prominent women in Hollywood launched this campaign to put an end to the harassment and discrimination of women in the film industry and in their professional lives.