The recession has completely upended gender roles in the workplace. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that for the first time in history women are on the verge of overtaking men in the nation’s workforce. Now, men are facing another twist of fortune.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of men who claim to have been sexually harassed has increased since the start of the recession. In 2009, 16.4% of all sexual harassment claims filed in the U.S. were by men (2,094 claims) compared to 15.4% filed in 2006 (1,869 claims), based on numbers from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"The spike in male sexual harassment claims coincides with a recession that has hit men harder than women. From September 2008 to January 2010, 4.4 million men lost their jobs compared with 2.3 million women,” the Journal reports. Some have speculated that men feel more trapped and desperate, and as a result, are more willing to take legal measures when they feel harassed rather than just move on to a new job.
One strong point in favor of that argument is that the states with the highest percentage of harassment claims among men tended to have higher than average unemployment rates. By comparison, Nebraska, which has a low 4.7% unemployment rate saw the percent of harassment claims decrease last year.