#MeToo movement reshaping workplace dynamics

By April 8, 2019 September 11th, 2019 Research Publications

On 15 October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano wrote the following tweet which went viral in a matter of hours.

Thus began the #MeToo movement, which has grown to become a global phenomenon associated with the empowerment of victims, predominantly women, to speak up against sexual assault and harassment. The greatest impact has arguably been felt in the US. Many attribute the recent investigations and various allegations against high-profile figures in Hollywood to the #MeToo movement. The world continues to feel the effects of #MeToo today.

What about Singapore?

As conversations about the #MeToo movement remain in the forefront of public consciousness, we at Black Dot Research decided to conduct a survey to explore how this movement has affected attitudes and workplaces in Singapore.

High awareness of #MeToo movement

The vast majority of respondents displayed an awareness of the #MeToo movement and what it means. Almost all (98.5%)  respondents were supportive of the movement. In terms of workplace policies, half (47.7%) of the respondents felt their workplace either supported or strongly supported women in reporting instances of sexual harassment by other employees. 44.6% of the respondents felt that their workplace was neutral in supporting reports of sexual harassments by other employees.

Question: How supportive do you regard your workplace to be towards the #MeToo movement,

e.g. encouraging female employees to report instances of sexual harassment by other employees?

A victim of its own success?

Half of the respondents felt that the #MeToo campaign has caused males to be more conscious of their actions around female colleagues. 35% of the respondents were neutral, while 15% of total respondents (73% of female respondents) did not see any change in the behaviors of their male colleagues. This suggests that overall interactions between colleagues of different genders have changed.

Question: Do you agree that male employees are more careful than before

when dealing with female colleagues after the #MeToo movement?

Would a movement to prevent sexual harassment cause gender discrimination?

A key question to be considered is whether an over-cautious employer may decide against hiring or promoting a female employee to prevent potential #MeToo incidents from happening. This would be an ironic outcome as #MeToo would then have an adverse effect on the very people it intends to protect.

We asked our male respondents if they felt that their career progression viz-a-viz female employees was impacted because of #MeToo, and results showed that the majority did not feel that their careers were affected, while a minority (16%) felt some effects.

Question: In your view, how far does the management’s position towards the #MeToo movement

affects the career progression of male employees as compared to your female employees?

Did the #MeToo movement promote gender equality in the workplace? 40% of respondents agreed while 52.3% felt that they did not sense a change in the treatment of female employees as compared to their male colleagues.

So, what has changed with #MeToo? Much remains to be seen. Black Dot Research is keen to hear your thoughts and experiences on this. Drop us an email at feedback@blackdotresearch.sg if you have a story to share!


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