Tech pushes female mentorship as it reveals a survey showing growing backlash against #MeToo

Key Points
  • is aiming to get more men to mentor women in the workplace.
  • The group's promotional effort comes at a time when a survey finds a growing backlash to the #metoo movement.
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LeanIn.Org is launching a new campaign, #MentorHer, to encourage men to guide women.

The call to action comes as the organization reveals results of a survey showing an emerging backlash to the #MeToo movement — with nearly half of male managers surveyed saying they "are now uncomfortable participating in common work activities with women, including working alone and mentoring." — which was co-founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to promote gender equality in the workplace — sponsors an online community, promotes educational materials, and runs peer groups called Lean In Circles. The latest initiative aims to connect women with "the high-quality mentorship that advances careers." At, the organization explains why male mentorship matters, and how men can be effective mentors and treat men and women equally. The organization says that when organizations employ more women, sexual harassment is more prevalent.

The study — conducted by LeanIn and Survey Monkey — finds an impact from the reports of sexual harassment on male managers. Since the harassment reports started surfacing, the male managers are twice as uncomfortable working alone with a woman. It said the percentage of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled from 5 percent to 16 percent. This means that 1 in 6 male managers may now hesitate to mentor a woman.

In support of this initiative, Sandberg is taking the stage at the Makers conference in Los Angeles to discuss it. She's also encouraging people to post with the #MentorHer hashtag. A number of CEOs are signing on — with LeanIn President Rachel Thomas co-authoring an open letter published in The Wall Street Journal with the CEO of TaskRabbit, Stacy Brown-Philpot.

Here are the results of the online survey of 2,950 employed adults, conducted from Jan. 23-25:

#MentorHer – Survey findings

LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey partnered to understand what men and women are feeling in the wake of the widespread media reports of sexual harassment. Here's what we learned:

  • Almost half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together.
  • Almost 30% of male managers are uncomfortable working alone with a woman — more than twice as many as before.
  • The number of male managers who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled from 5% to 16%. This means that 1 in 6 male managers may now hesitate to mentor a woman.
  • Senior men are 3.5X more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner with a junior-level woman than a junior-level man–and 5X more likely to hesitate to travel for work with a junior-level woman.
  • Women and men feel similarly about the media reports of sexual harassment: 47% are not surprised, and 25% think this is the tip of the iceberg.
  • About half of women and men say their companies have responded to the #MeToo movement by taking action against harassers, updating their policies, or offering employee guidance or training. (Shockingly, half have not.)