Men frightened to help women at work

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51kSmbnFeyL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_-1Senior male executives are scared of offering mentoring to young women in case it is misconstrued as sexual harassment according to a new book “Sex and the Office” by Kim Elsesser.

The author claims that a sex partition has sprung up which impedes women from building a vital network of contacts. This is as a result of the publicity about sexual harassment which has backfired on women who find it easy to network with other women but not with men, who still hold the power in many organisations.

She found that 2 out of 3 male executives were reluctant to even meet younger woman although they would not hesitate to ask a junior male colleague. Companies providing courses on sexual harassment and following up even minor perceived infringements don’t necessarily help.

When a man has to justify to HR why he opened a door for a woman (one of her examples) or complimented one on a new suit (and let’s not mention “stunning photos” on LinkedIn) you can see how men could become risk averse. There is even a term for fear of being accused of sexual harassment. It’s called “backlash stress“!

And don’t forget the fuss, largely in the US, about micro-aggressions.