When the #MeToo movement began in California, few people believed it would spread quite the way it did. It moved from the southwestern corner of America to the northeast. According to a CNN report, one in three UN workers report being sexually harassed on the job in the past two years alone.
Roughly 21.7% of the respondents said they were subjected to offensive jokes and sexual stories. Another 14.2% reported that they received offensive remarks regarding their body, physical appearance or generally related to sexual activities.
However, only 17% of workers who were eligible to complete the survey actually did so. This in itself is troubling. It illustrates an ongoing sense of mistrust in superiors as people may feel reporting these incidents, even as an anonymous survey respondent, may not have any immediate or positive effects on sexual harassment in the workplace. The UN chief believes that they have a long way to go to resolve this problem.
Meanwhile, NBC News reports that the #MeToo movement has, in fact, empowered women to speak out against sexual harassment. A recent study cited by the news agency showed that sexual harassment was on the decline at work from 2016 to 2018. Women also reported feeling less self-doubt related to these acts and felt more emboldened to not only speak out against what happened but the person responsible.
One of the strong points of the #MeToo movement is that it showed women that far from being alone in their predicament, it was a worldwide epidemic. In spite of this, as the UN survey shows, organizations still have a lot of work ahead of them when it comes to creating a workspace free of sexual harassment.