Mentoring is important because it enables experienced professionals to share their wisdom and knowledge with their colleagues. Their advice and support are essential for development in the workplace.
Unfortunately, men are now shying away from mentoring women following the #MeToo movement. After the New York Times published its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women shared their “MeToo” moments on social media, revealing they too endured unwanted sexual advances or violence.
According to women’s empowerment non-profit LeanIn.Org, male managers are three times more likely to admit they’re uncomfortable mentoring women since sexual harassment incidents started making headlines last fall. They are also twice as uncomfortable working alone with a woman.
When it comes to meeting women outside of work, the uncomfortable factor increases. Senior men are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate when it comes to having a work dinner with a junior female colleague versus a male one. They are also five times more likely to reconsider travelling for work with a junior woman.
LeanIn.Org founder Sheryl Sandberg wrote on Facebook that the trend will undoubtedly “decrease the opportunities women have at work.” She added: “The last thing women need right now is even more isolation. Men vastly outnumber women as managers and senior leaders, so when they avoid, ice out, or exclude women, we pay the price.”
To combat this problem, LeanIn.Org is promoting the campaign #MentorHer. Several men have joined the initiative, including Oath CEO Tim Armstrong, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, CEO Jeff Weiner, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, and Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, reports Fortune.
Over 100 famous and successful men have been accused of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the Weinstein investigation. As a result, many men are actively avoiding being alone with women.
The survey results are alarming because people who have mentors are more likely to be promoted, according to LeanIn.Org. In addition, women are 24 percent less likely to receive advice from managers, and many women of colour believe not having a mentor has kept them from advancing in the workplace.