A new research has explored how men are becoming ‘scared’ to help female colleagues.
Dr Elsesser, who used to work on Wall Street for Morgan Stanley, claims in her new book that male executives are often “afraid” to help their female colleagues or invite them to social events in case they find themselves accused of sexual harassment, the Independent reported.
She said that she noticed that men had an easier time networking and befriending the male senior management at the firm, and noticed that women were often left out of dinners, drinks or lunches with the senior male managers.
She added that it wasn’t malicious and it was because the men wanted to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Problems arise when men and women try to establish friendships or mentor relationships, Elsesser noted, adding even outside of the workplace, men and women are more likely to have same-sex friends. Adult men and women are less likely to befriend the opposite sex because of different interests, different communication styles, and worry that their friendliness will be misinterpreted as romantic interest.
However, inside the workplace, Dr Elsesser notes, there is a heightened awareness of sexual harassment issues, part of an issue which she describes as the “sex partition”: a sort of “hysteria” that prompts male and female colleagues to behave awkwardly around one another.
She suggests that men who rise to more senior positions in a company have more to lose from allegations or from misperceptions.
Perhaps this explains why, following on from multiple allegations of sexual harassment made against American Apparel founder Dov Charney, the company responded by banning all managers from relationships with “subordinates.” Elsesser’s observations are timely considering the recent furore around lawyer Charlotte Proudman, the lawyer branded a “Feminazi” after calling out a man for an allegedly sexist message on Linkedin.