CBS Poll: #MeToo Prompts Men to Change Behavior with Women

For those naysayers who think #MeToo is a passing fad with no effect on society, a CBS poll has news for you. Men, and particularly young men, have been moved to rethink how they behave toward women since #MeToo and Time’s Up came to town.

Me Too Survivors March
Young men in particular are being influenced by #MeToo and Time’s Up. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

More than half (52%) of young men age 18-29 say that these movements have caused them to rethink their own behavior, and 36% of young men say they’re talking about the issue now more than ever.

Overall, 63% of Americans believe these movements have been instrumental in raising awareness about sexual harassment.

For women in philanthropy looking to influence gender equality movements, this CBS News poll provides important ideas for how to direct strategy in order to impact sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The poll also suggests that #MeToo and Time’s Up are having a bigger influence on younger generations than on older ones. For both men and women ages 18-29, 40% feel their understanding of sexual misconduct is more clear, whereas for older age categories, only 26-29% feel that the movements have clarified their understanding of sexual misconduct.

CBS Poll data suggests that younger generations are gaining added clarity on the meaning of sexual misconduct from #MeToo and Time’s Up. (Image Credit: CBS News)

The impact for women of #MeToo and Time’s Up has also been significant, according to the poll, with 29% of working women saying they are more likely now to report sexual harassment than they were before the movements. Women also believe, moreso than men, that more leadership from women would help reduce sexual harassment in the workplace.

The generational issues also show up in this poll for women, with a higher percentage of younger women, 52%, seeing sexual harassment as a serious problem, compared to only 32% of women over 30.

This research helps validate the impact of social movements to end sexual harassment, and suggests that a key demographic — younger Americans ages 18-29 have the most to gain from the campaigns so far. The research also suggests that there may be key opportunities for advancing these movements by doing outreach to older generations in order to help them understand the movements better.

Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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