Most Americans believe #MeToo has changed the climate around workplace sexual misconduct
Almost five years since the #MeToo went viral, new data from the Pew Research Center finds that most Americans believe that the movement has made it more likely that people would be held accountable for workplace sexual harassment and assault. It also found that most Americans think that people who report sexual misconduct in the workplace are more likely to be believed today than they would have been five years ago.
Though #MeToo didn’t start in 2017, it picked up steam when investigative reporting exposed Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and misconduct toward women he worked with or who were trying to work with him. The Pew polling found that 70 percent of Americans believe that those who commit sexual harassment or assault in the workplace are more likely to be held responsible than they would have been five years ago.
The poll also found that 62 percent of Americans are confident that those who report workplace sexual harassment or assault are more likely to be believed today than they were five years ago. More than half of Americans who have heard of the #MeToo movement say they support it, while only 21 percent of those who have heard of it say they oppose it.
Still, 46 percent of Americans say that they think it is extremely or very common that people experience workplace sexual harassment or assault and don’t report it.
Anna Brown, a research associate at Pew and the author of this study, told The 19th she was not only struck by the gender gaps when it came to people’s feelings on these issues but that the differences in opinions held tied to gender “really paled in comparison to party gaps.”
Brown pointed to the way that women who have heard of the #MeToo movement are more likely to say they support it than men who have heard of it — 54 percent to 42 percent. The same question shows even starker differences when looked at by political party affiliation, with Democrats over three times as likely to support #MeToo at 70 percent compared to 22 percent of Republicans.