Believe it or not, it’s been almost two years since the #MeToo movement brought the world’s attention to sexual harassment in the workplace. In the months since October 2017, countless people have come forward to tell their stories, alleged serial abusers have fallen from power, and public discourse has evolved. Meanwhile, states such as New York and California have enacted new harassment prevention laws, and organizations around the world have implemented new programs to protect their workers.
It certainly seems like a lot has changed. But let’s consider the facts for a moment—the empirical evidence, beyond general feelings and anecdotes.
Is it possible to quantify the impact of #MeToo, two years later? And if so, do the numbers show meaningful change?
Data collected by a team of researchers from the University of Colorado indicate a “yes” on both counts. Writing for The Harvard Business Review, Researchers Stefanie K. Johnson, Ksenia Keplinger, Jessica F. Kirk, and Liza Barnes recently shared the results of two surveys they conducted. The first survey interviewed 250 working women in the US in 2016, before #MeToo went viral. The other involved 263 US working women (including some from the previous round) and took place in September of last year. Each survey asked respondents “about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in their workplaces and how it impacts them at work.”
Here’s what the researchers found: