Overcoming Gender Discrimination in Business: Reconsidering Mentoring in the Post #Me-Too and Covid-19 Eras
Forthcoming in 23 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law (2021)
45 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 1, 2020
Due to the #MeToo movement, awareness of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace is at an all-time high and the dividing line between the genders in the workplace may be at its greatest. Women, who were already at a significant disadvantage in corporate America prior to the movement now face increased exclusion by men in and outside the workplace. Worse yet, the harsh reaction to the movement may have caused men to become more skeptical of sexual harassment claims.
One of the responses to the movement is an outpouring of literature, both academic and popular, centering on the difficulties women face in obtaining mentors, sponsors, and other forms of advocacy in the post-#MeToo era. Many articles focus on the need for men to take an active role in using their privilege and position to assist women in breaking these barriers. Although the importance of mentoring women cannot be overstated, and the emphasis on men mentoring women is critical given the gender inequality among senior management, largely absent from the analysis is a discussion of the benefits that women, men, and society as a whole receive when women mentor men.
This manuscript explores this perspective, arguing that there should be a focus on providing opportunities for women to mentor men. It posits that women mentoring men may be essential for ultimately bridging the divide between the genders and helping to eliminate gender bias in corporate America. In addition, it addresses how the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates a need for female mentorship and provides an opportunity to redefine the mentoring relationship.
Keywords: women in leadership; gender discrimination; sexual harrassment; employment law; mentoring, leadership
JEL Classification: K31, K22, J71, M51, M54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation