In one instance, a lobbyist flies solo from Texas to Washington to press his case on the Hill, leaving behind the female associate who did much of the work on the issue. And in another, The Washington Post reports, an investor has canceled one-on-one meetings with female entrepreneurs.
As a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men crested in recent months, relationships between men and women in workplaces across the country have shifted—sometimes toward more honest discussions of what’s not okay at work, but also toward silence and exclusion, a quiet backlash against the #MeToo movement.
“My research over the past couple of years showed that men were hesitant to have one-on-one meetings, go out to lunch or go on business trips alone with a woman,” says Kim Elsesser, a psychologist at the University of California at Los Angeles. “Now it’s gotten worse. We need to educate everyone in the workplace not only about what not to do, but that going out to lunch is important—if you segregate by gender, that’s discrimination.”