Dr. Helen

Would You Mentor a Woman in the Era of #MeToo?

Women are upset that male managers don’t want to mentor women, but who can blame men for opting out? According to this NYT article, men are supposed to set themselves up to be charged with sexual harassment without worrying about their own career and freedom:

DAVOS, Switzerland — Men attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year were worried about a lot of things. A global economic slowdown. Threats to cybersecurity. Populism. War.

And, several acknowledged at the meeting this past week, mentoring women in the #MeToo era.

“I now think twice about spending one-on-one time with a young female colleague,” said one American finance executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the issue is “just too sensitive.”

“Me, too,” said another man in the conversation….

“A number of men have told me that they will avoid going to dinner with a female mentee, or that they’re concerned about deploying a woman solo on-site with a male,” Ms. Milligan said. “People are concerned and have questions.”

“If we allow this to happen, it will set us back decades,” Ms. Milligan said. “Women have to be sponsored by leaders, and leaders are still mostly men.”

The main focus now, she said, is education. When male executives tell her that they are considering deliberately avoiding women, she tells them bluntly that would be illegal. “Just replace the word ‘woman’ with any minority,” she said. “Yes, you have to talk about the right kind of behavior, but you can’t stop interacting with women.”

Such hesitance among male managers, while intensifying in the #MeToo era, has long been an issue. Research by the economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett found that two-thirds of male executives hesitated to hold one-on-one meetings with women in more junior positions, for fear they could be misconstrued. Vice President Mike Pence has said that he never dines alone with a woman other than his wife, a maxim that has become widely known as the Pence Rule.

Who can blame any man for not wanting to mentor women? They can try to make it illegal, but men will find a way to avoid women and protect themselves. Women use the system for their own benefit and then complain when men won’t accommodate them in handing them the rope to hang themselves. Then they claim it’s “illegal” when men say “no thanks.” What a crock.