Some say the #MeToo movement has inspired new rules at work, with men now having to take more of a literal, and metaphorical, hands-off approach in interactions with their female counterparts.
“When it comes to the opposite sex, no pats on the back, no one-to-one meals, no closed office doors. Don’t take a personal interest. Limit conversation to the business matter at hand,” says Bob (last name and employer name withheld), an investment banker who works in the Financial District.
While his employer hasn’t issued any official guidance, the 37-year-old Bloomfield, NJ resident says that these are some of the rules that most of his male colleagues, including his superiors, have started to follow.
“I don’t like it. It’s unnatural. We’re not predators, and to be honest, it’s creating a bit of a boys’ club. I can’t see that it’s doing the females any good,” he says.
While there has been a call to revisit the way women and men work together, experts say that shutting out the opposite sex isn’t the solution.
In fact, it’s just the opposite of what needs to happen, according to Joanne Lipman, author of the new book, “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together” (William Morrow).
“Sexual harassment is an extreme case,” says Lipman, adding that the #MeToo movement has created an opportunity to talk about the balance of power in the workplace. “It’s a conversation that both genders need to be a part of.”