When Vice President Mike Pence announced that he followed the “Billy Graham Rule” and refused to dine or drink alone with any woman that was not his wife, social commentators erupted with scorn—attacking his religious and conservative political beliefs.

But Pence is not alone in his reluctance to spend alone time with someone of the opposite gender. Harvard Business Review found that 64 percent of executive men were reluctant to have one-on-one meetings with junior women. Similarly, a New York Times survey found that nearly half of men, 45 percent, felt it was inappropriate to have dinner alone with a woman, and 22 percent felt that it was inappropriate to have a work meeting alone with a woman.

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