Businesses That Ignore the #MeToo Movement Do So at Their Own Peril

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As the results of an exclusive FTI Consulting & Mine The Gap survey show, businesses need to make sure they’re fostering a safe and inclusive workplace.

MeToo is more than just a hashtag. It’s more than a headline or a line of text on your social feed or a conversation around the water cooler. #MeToo is a global movement that shines light on the real-world instances of sexual harassment that many professional women have dealt with, and continue to deal with, on a daily basis. That light grows brighter every day.

Founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, #MeToo speaks out against sexual harassment and assault. The movement gained significant traction in October 2017 following the investigation into Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault. Since then, the floodgates have opened on a slew of past and current incidents involving high-profile offenders, including journalists Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, as well as 201 other powerful men (many of whom have since been replaced by women).

Indeed, MeToo has become an international force sparking change in policies, media coverage, employment contracts, social norms and workplace cultures, all while tackling the longstanding issue of gender inequality. To fully capture its global impact, Google created an interactive visualization of search trends orbiting #MeToo called “Me Too Rising” that can be found here.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an entity that investigates complaints of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, there were 7,500 harassment complaints filed between October 2017 and September 2018, representing a 12 percent increase over the previous year. Traffic to the EEOC’s sexual harassment webpage doubled following the Weinstein investigation, per an NBC News article.

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How has the #MeToo movement affected the business world? To find out, FTI Consulting, in collaboration with Mine The Gap — an organization that works to foster gender-inclusive environments — conducted a survey in the summer of 2018. With a sample of 4,764 women professionals, as well as 1,030 professional men across the technology, finance, legal, energy and healthcare industries, the survey focused on key gender issues impacting workplaces.

The results show the #MeToo movement has had a significant impact on workplace culture. But responses also revealed that the stakes are high for organizations that aren’t actively working toward creating a more inclusive workplace.

Discover what these professionals said about #MeToo and how the movement is transforming the business landscape.

© Copyright 2019. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of FTI Consulting, Inc. or its other professionals.
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