In conjunction with Dow Chemical, Catalyst hosted a roundtable surrounding our Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives research series. This event aimed to bring together male champions, D&I practitioners, HR representatives, and other interested individuals from Catalyst member organizations to participate in an open and informative forum.

During this event we provided updates on the latest Catalyst research findings and encouraged members to discuss the implications with Catalyst experts. The forum  provided opportunities for peers from different companies to exchange notes on how and why to involve men into the discussion on gender inclusion.

On Friday, Jan 17th, Catalyst hosted a roundtable on the topic of “Building Better Partnerships: Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives” in Mumbai. Of the 19 attendees, 11 were men – a promising start to what turned out to be a very fruitful morning.

Aarti Shyamsunder, Director – Research for Catalyst India facilitated the session and shared research from Catalyst’s program on Engaging Men including insights from these four reports:

Beyond sharing research insights and some organizational practices, the morning was spent in sharing insights about obstacles to engaging men more in D&I initiatives, and practical tips on various dilemmas.

Some hurdles that were shared were similar to what Catalyst research has revealed before, such as fear of losing ground to women (‘zero sum game’ mentality) and fear of being blamed for historical inequities, as well as a general lack of awareness of men’s role in the business case for gender inclusion. In addition, some culturally nuanced barriers surfaced. For instance, some men hesitate in being visible champions of gender initiatives out of fear of being ascribed ulterior motives for relating to women. Others worry about the line between ‘protecting women’ and ‘denying developmental opportunities’ in the name of providing safety. Still others – especially proponents of meritocracy in organizations – worry about equating D&I work to ‘unfair quotas’.

A workshop activity in which groups discussed topics such as “Unequal Access to Networks”, “Gender Roles/Male Norms That Hurt Men and Women”, “Safety” and “Paternalistic Benevolence” provided rich ground for a nuanced, candid and informative sharing among participants.

At the end of the session, participants took back with them new knowledge and insights from research, from organizational practices (shared by Catalyst as well as by other member organizations in the room) and practical solutions and ‘Actions Men Can Take’, including becoming involved in MARC, the online community of male champions of gender inclusion.

0 Reader Comments

Leave A Comment