by Finn McRedmond
Friday, 12
August 2022
News
15:30

New research: #MeToo movement hurt female productivity

CV data shows that fewer women academics are collaborating with men
by Finn McRedmond
Credit: Getty

A new paper has found that the #MeToo movement has caused a significant decline in the productivity of women academics because fewer are collaborating with their male colleagues. This fall is most acute in universities “where the perceived risk of sexual harassment accusations for men is high”, resulting in a chilling effect on cross-sex collaboration. 

Using CV data to track collaborations between economists over six years around #MeToo (2015-2020), researcher Marina Gertsberg discovered that junior female academics started 0.7 fewer projects per year than before. 60% of this decline can be attributed to a decrease in collaborations with new male co-authors, which broadly correlates with a reduction in growth of the co-author network.

Gertsberg attributes this fall to men unwilling to collaborate with women due to fears of accusations of sexual harassment. In fact, several surveys have found that men believe they are more vulnerable to false allegations of sexual harassment in a post-MeToo landscape, and are perhaps managing this perceived risk by reducing their exposure to women.

#MeToo’s original goal was to improve workplace conditions for women by holding men accountable for sexual misconduct. The response resulted in public allegations that brought down several high-profile individuals.

Early cases included William V Harris, the well-established Columbia history professor who retired as part of a settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit in late 2017; and prominent Harvard Professor, Jorge I. Domínguez, who was accused of sexual harassment by up to 18 women.

This new research is significant because it highlights that the #MeToo movement had negative effects on women too. Junior researchers depend on collaboration with colleagues to build their reputation and qualify for tenure. But a reduction in interactions and professional collaborations “will exacerbate inequality between the career opportunities of men and women,” the paper concludes.

 The MeToo movement intended to improve the workplace for women, but it may have had the unintended consequence of stalling their careers.

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Paul O
Paul O
1 month ago

These movements all seem to have had a negative impact. Some people who once felt totally comfortable around black people are now censoring their speech for fear of causing offense or confusion. The same is true of LGBT. And some other people have gone down the route of treating anyone with dark skin or non-heterosexual leanings as either special needs (how condescending) or as a minor celebrity. The latter seems to be particularly true for trans people, who are now rarely treat is just normal folk, but some kind of local royalty.

Bring back the days where we treat women, darker skinned folk and LGBT people as just ordinary folk, who deserved just as much respect as everyone else, no matter what their perceived differences might, or might not be.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul Smithson
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul O

I agree. The problem is less with the #MeToo movement and more with Identity Politics.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul O

Mob movements nearly always make things worse. MeToo, BLM, Trans lunacy… all based on mob psychology.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul O

I saw a great poem a while back but never saved the link. It went something like:
“I hardly noticed the colour of your skin before you called me racist.
I had collaborated with women for years until you called me sexist.”
etc
Anyone know this poem?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul O

Or it my just have opened our eyes to problems we were all pretending not to see for fear of fear of the being branded racist etc. but which we now know there is no hiding from.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul O

Them bears are at it in the woods again.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 month ago

Yes, women (and minors) have been handed power to destroy your reputation and career, if fact your life. Spite is quite common in both groups and poses a real threat. Extra precautions with them are necessary: social distancing avoiding physical contact: never meet in private without cctv: never meet outside work: record all conversations: these are some of the measures which will help clear you during investigations or Law. However, when you are found not guilty, “believe everything they say” and “no smoke without fire” will still finish you off … so complete avoidance is prudent.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

As a Cub Scout helper I once helped up a kid who had fallen over and was told I shouldn’t do that by a female colleague – who proceeded to cuddle the kid.
The demonisation of men.

David Werling
David Werling
1 month ago

I’m not entirely against the #MeToo movement, as it exposed a horrible injustice that was being perpetuated against women that was not contained by ideological boundaries. However, it certainly was used as cudgel, unjustly, more than a few times, especially by the Left (i.e. Justice Bret Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump). In my opinion, using the suffering of women as a political devise to “cancel” individuals who do not agree with the Left’s ideology is a second and maybe more severe injustice against those same women.
This seems to go along with a strange trend in the modern Left to denigrate women across the board, such as forcing women collegiate athletes to compete and lose to biological men, or trying to eliminate the word “mother” from our vocabulary and consciousness, and finally to not being able to define what a woman is at all. Is there dignity to being a mother? The Left doesn’t appear to believe so. When did that happen, and why? How can you respect, honor, and grant dignity to a woman if you can’t say anyone is a woman (unless, of course, you are biologist!)? When did the Left decide there was no room in our collective social discussion for women?
It seems that feminism has lost the good fight if “feminism” can be boiled down to just one issue–abortion access–and “feminism” can no longer speak about what it means to be a woman.

Claire D
Claire D
1 month ago
Reply to  David Werling

It could be because the two key goals in Marx’s The Communist Manifesto are:

destroy private property
destroy the bourgeois family.

By denying sex differences and encouraging women to behave more and more like men you get more workers and you destroy the family.
It’s been quite successful so far.

https://thecritic.co.uk/the-false-choice-of-feminism/

Last edited 1 month ago by Claire D
Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 month ago
Reply to  Claire D

Spot on.
Though I think it is heartening that the seismic disruptions of #MeToo and BLM have had the positive effect of unearthing the thoroughly diseased roots of Marxism in our institutions — particularly the schools and universities although they are everywhere.
It only remains for us to get our intellectual rotavators in to them — and fast.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago
Reply to  David Werling

Office rules for men who want to avoid being used as a stepping stone to a harassment payout are well known:
•If a woman enters your office, move the meeting to a communal area
•Do not be alone with a woman during work
•Always have a chaperone in meetings with females
•Do not mentor women 
•Do not meet with a female colleague outside of work
•Do not go for drinks, lunch or dinner with female colleagues
•Do not enter a lift if the only other passenger is a woman
•Whenever possible, senior male managers should record all meetings with females
•Do not compliment women, especially on clothing
•Never touch a woman

Last edited 1 month ago by William Shaw
Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The ‘Graham-Pence’ rule is vindicted.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago
Reply to  David Werling

There was no “horrible injustice” being perpetuated against women. Other than certain industries like movie making (where also it was a mix between predatory men and women encouraging them to advance their career), in most workplaces most men couldn’t care less about harassing or sexually targeting women. There are a very few exceptions – but they are usually high ranking sleazeballs and they are still as untouchable as ever, metoo notwithstanding.

The bigger issue though is, like a lot else with “modern” women, is that they think they don’t need to change. In this case, most women still think men must initiate and approach, and women can, at their whim and fancy, soak up attention or scream about harassment (for approaches which, if done by a rich guy, would suddenly be perfectly acceptable)

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago

Personally, I stopped meeting one-on-one with women after learning how several prominent men had be blackmailed by women threatening false accusations

Last edited 1 month ago by William Shaw
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago

There have been several reports of so-called “honey trap” plots to make false accusations against high profile men: for example Eric Raymond and Linus Torvalds.

Based on his findings, Raymond posted the following warning on his blog:
“The short version is: if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a ‘women in tech’ advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.”

In the case of Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux, the plot involved two women as Linus had already stopped meeting one-on-one with women. Evidently the women thought he might think himself safe and agree to a meeting if it was with more than one woman. Plus, if they both accused him of inappropriate behaviour they were more likely to be believed.  Evidently they revealed too much about their plan before the meeting and Linus was forewarned. 

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 month ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I vaguely remember those doings, and it far preceded #MeToo. It was many years ago that Linus only attended tech conferences with a ‘posse’, to ensure he was never alone.

The defensive measures in business/office environs, as mentioned by other commenters, had also been in effect considerably prior to #MeToo.

Rather ironic that the ‘intellectuals’ of the academy have only just cottoned on!

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

You’re correct that the honey traps were underway prior to the full force of MeToo but there is considerable overlap and interaction between them.
Raymond’s blog post, which included a mention about the issue Linus was dealing with was in November 2015.
Tarana Burke, a feminist activist, first used the phrase “Me Too” in 2006. Alyssa Milano’s tweet encouraging followers to use the #MeToo hashtag was in 2017.

Last edited 1 month ago by William Shaw
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago

Henry Hazlett describes economics is the art of “seeing the unseen”, and economists pride themselves on thinking through unintended consequences in bad incentives. And this profession is surprised that when men are routinely pilloried by women who claim sexual harassment, other men would decide not to collaborate with women? Talk about ironic.

There were some people who actually raised this possibility when MeToo started 4 years ago. We were called sexists, Nazis, bigots, rape apologists, and all the other names the Left uses to stifle their opposition. And as usual, when it turns out we were right, there will be no apology, only more criticism of sexist men who refuse to collaborate with women because they hate them. The Left really is a broken record.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 month ago

Why is everything always about women?

Hannah Snow
Hannah Snow
1 month ago

I remember when everyone seemed to pillory an ha-ha Mike Pence for upholding the Billy Graham Rule. It will hold back women in their professional political careers, everyone cried. Now people seem to be inadvertently following the Billy Graham rule because of MeToo and wondering why women are being held back in their political careers!
Never mind that all you need to do to be scrupulous about these things is to prop the door open, or install CCTV.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 month ago

It is absolutely obvious to me, a flip in the endless human game to date, of males chasing females, is coming. Perhaps a decade or so away. Technology and demographics. And a more bizarre thing I cannot imagine. Because the biological aesthetics of attraction have not (yet) changed, so what form this takes is anyones guess.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 month ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The obvious conclusion of the decline in marriage and the explosion in short term hook-ups is that the sexual marketplace will become totally dominant. Legalised prostitution is ultimately inevitable.

Last edited 1 month ago by William Shaw
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

This is an extremely interesting question that few are asking. The fact is, women aren’t just competing with each other. What happens when the modern independent woman discovers her mating pool consists mostly of porn addicted males (“man” is no the correct term in this case) and she has to compete with a custom made virtual, AI “girlfriend”?

In basic neurological wiring, men care mostly about sex and women care mostly about babies. This doesn’t mean men don’t care about children or women about sex, but in the aggregate, these stereotypes do hold — regular Internet porn watchers are 90% male. A consistent number of women chasing a shrinking number of men does not bode well for the women long term.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 month ago

Women don’t need men any longer except possibly fleetingly to get pregnant.
State handouts to replace a husband’s wage and the state replacement of mothers with professional carers…. no incentive to bother with an inconvenient partner.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Depends on what it meant by “need”. The partnership between the brains of the two sexes complement each other and feed satisfaction rewards.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Financially, you are arguably correct (at least at the lower end of the economic ladder.) But I don’t think anyone would say that broad single-motherhood is beneficial to women (most of whom want close relationships with their children) or to children (who need fathers) or to society (who need a functional next generation).

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

The catch here is, those state handouts are funded primarily by “patriarchal” breadwinner males slogging away to provide for their families, paying maybe half in tax to support “independent” single mothers (and simultaneously doing a lot of jobs such as logistics, industry, mining where women don’t seem keen on “equity”).

When those men check out, they also don’t need to do those jobs. Who will pay taxes and who will drive trucks? Not women, for sure.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 month ago

It is a general ethnocentric-driven misunderstanding in the West that separate male and female institutions were the result of patriarchal oppression. It should be clear by now that they are as much driven by women’s wish to be removed from what they perceive as “male toxicity.”

B Davis
B Davis
1 month ago

Is anyone surprised?
If anything I say (or don’t say)…if anything I do (or don’t do)…if the simplest and most innocuous of things (or imagined things) can be ‘held against me’ — NOT in a court of law but a hearing with the Vice Chancellor of Title IX or my local HR Director — if my entire career can be washed away by a flood of accusations (right or wrong, it doesn’t matter) why why why why would I deliberate and consciously increase that crash & burn risk by associating with the very people who have the power to crush me?
I wouldn’t.
No one would.
If you’ve seen your friends & colleagues walk into the woods and come back bloody from a bear attack (those that come back at all), would you really, tomorrow, go romping into those same woods, whistling while you work?
The ridiculous Mike Pence Practice of never dining alone with a woman…which initially sounded like something from a bad SNL skit (is there any other kind these days) now begins to sound like the sanest voice of reason. Leadership Training’s new chapter is how to find and safely use witnesses when meeting with members of protected classes.
No one should be surprised that eventually we all learn the lessons being taught.

Last edited 1 month ago by bryant1010
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 month ago

The vast majority of women are NOT academics, and are much more concerned about being able to work and live their lives without being sexually assaulted.
This essay illustrates the problem with the domination of journalism by the professional class.
Most poor and working class women are far more concerned about being safe from sexual violence and harassment than they are about getting tenure or the corner office.
If women in the corporate and academic worlds think it’s worth getting groped and bullied to advance their careers, good for them.
Most women just want to be able to do their jobs without the boss grabbing their breasts and whispering lewd propositions into their ears.
This article makes ridiculous and extremely classist assumptions.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

How so? It’s a short article about how women in universities have been negatively affected by the self censoring of some men who are fearful of working with them in case something they say or do is misconstrued. It wasn’t referring to every work situation as that would have ended up with it becoming vague and rambling.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 month ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I think groping and more was exceedingly rare in all my work situations. Seems more related to the power proposition where the woman needed to allow abuse because she wanted something only he could give. She was powerless to take the expected actions of correction – a strong no and/or a slap. But now that boss has become an ordinary male being accused of something he may or may not have done.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 month ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

“Most poor and working class women are far more concerned about being safe from sexual violence and harassment”
And how many of the metoo cases were from help poor, working class women?

And as for “do their jobs without the boss grabbing their breasts and whispering lewd propositions”…
Sad to say, real life is not exactly the same as 50 shades. Most men are more bothered about their football club than their co workers dubious “assets”

Claire D
Claire D
1 month ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I find this general casting of poor and working class women as timid and helpless quite ludicrous.

All the poor and working class women workers I have known and worked with have been pretty tough and capable of standing up for their rights. The older ones know how to deal with Handy Andys and teach the younger ones. Not only that but they can be lechers themselves. It is far from unknown for inexperienced young men to have to cope with being grabbed by teasing women.

The full on #MeToo wave was an hysterical reaction to the The Handmaid’s Tale TV series which came out just a few months before, imo. It even managed to find a man victim to tear to pieces (symbolically) as happens in the book.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 month ago
Reply to  Claire D

Agrees entirely with my experience. Reality never reflects the theory

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 month ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

“Most women just want to be able to do their jobs without the boss grabbing their breasts and whispering lewd propositions into their ears.”
Oh, really? In my 36-year career I never encountered a single instance in which a male colleague behaved in this way. Such behaviour may have occurred, but rarely. My male colleagues were generally terrified of being accused of sexism or worse and avoided behaviours that would have compromised their integrity – and this decades before #MeToo arrived on the scene.
However, I was aware of several instances where female workers sought to entrap male managers and destroy their careers with false allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct, none of which succeeded but which caused deep mental trauma.

Almost without exception the men I worked with were decent, honourable people who respected their female colleagues and treated them as equals. Sweeping statements like this seek to denigrate men collectively and add nothing of merit to a discussion.