11 Jan Young American women blame macho culture for toxic workplaces
The #MeToo movement wants to hand the next generation a healthier, safer world where women do not have to fear or accept any form of sexual misconduct or harassment.
But that younger generation already appears to have formed a strong opinion about what fuels unwanted advances and other inappropriate behavior.
A vast majority (60%) of men and women aged 15 to 24 believe that societal and cultural pressures to act masculine prevents men from expressing their emotions in healthy ways, according to the report, “Diversity, Division, Discrimination: The State of Young America,” released Wednesday by MTV and the nonprofit and nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Young women are more likely than young men to say pressure to act masculine encourages sexually aggressive behavior (54% versus 37%).
This follows a report last month covering more than 17,500 people in 21 countries by Boston Consulting Group, which found that young male workers have views on a range of workplace issues — family leave and training to reduce biases — that are markedly different from their parents’ generation. Asked to analyze 10 of the highest-priority gender diversity initiatives at companies, men under 40 were more likely to say that parental leave, a work-life balance and flexible schedules were most important.
“Even young men who didn’t grow up in a dual-income household are highly likely to understand the issues that women face at work,” the study found.
‘Young Americans in their teens and early twenties see serious negative consequences flowing from traditional depictions of masculinity.’
“Young Americans in their teens and early twenties see serious negative consequences flowing from traditional depictions of masculinity,” Robert Jones, chief executive of PRRI, said. “Young women, in particular, are worried.” The latest survey of 2,000 people was carried out before the wave of allegations broke against Harvey Weinstein, and others, last year.
Here are other findings from the study:
On gender stereotypes…
• Less than one in five young men and women describe themselves as “completely masculine” or “completely feminine.”
• Young women are more than twice as likely as young men to say they feel stereotypes prevent them from pursuing the things they want to do (38% versus 17%).
• Half of all young people say societal pressure to conform to conventional notions of masculinity limits the type of friendships men can have with other men
Young Americans who have yet to enter the workplace have their own ideas on what leads to a toxic work environment.
On witnessing discrimination…
• Nearly half of young people (49%) who have witnessed someone being targeted or mistreated say they have personally intervened, and one-quarter say they’ve been targeted.
‘The myth that girls are weak and boys are strong, that girls are vulnerable and boys are aggressive, was so globally pervasive we saw it play out over and over again in 15 countries and across five continents.’
• 36% of white people aged 15 to 24, and 43% of young white men, say discrimination against white people is as serious as that experienced by other minority groups.
• But far more (75%) of black young people believe that discrimination against black people has risen in the past 12 months, compared to 59% of Hispanic young people.
Other research suggests that young men have far different views on a range of workplace issues — from parental leave to diversity training — than previous generations did, which may help usher in a new climate that’s more welcoming to women.
Rigid gender stereotypes are tied to increased depression and violence in children, a study released last year by Johns Hopkins University in partnership with the World Health Organization found. “The myth that girls are weak and boys are strong, that girls are vulnerable and boys are aggressive, was so globally pervasive we saw it play out over and over again in 15 countries and across five continents,” Robert Blum, director of the Global Early Adolescent Study based at Johns Hopkins University, told MarketWatch.