What Can Men Do to Support Women Colleagues?
Men—and white men in particular—have a critical role to play in creating inclusive workplaces. Yet too often men are an untapped resource in gender initiatives. To address this gap, Catalyst’s research series, Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives, offers evidence-based advice about the most effective ways to partner with men in ending gender inequalities at work.
How can companies support men as they step up to the challenge of creating inclusive leadership?
Recognition is Paramount
Catalyst research has found that before an individual will support efforts to right an inequality, he or she must first recognize that the inequality exists. Men who were more aware of gender bias were more likely to say that it was important to them to achieve gender equality.
To accelerate change, we need to stop treating gender issues as women’s burden. If organizations want to minimize gender disparities, they need to enable women and men to make behavioral changes. And perhaps most important, organizations must enlist both women and men to work together as allies in changing the organizational norms and structures that perpetuate gender gaps.
Regrettably, by focusing exclusively on women, many companies have unwittingly alienated men, inadvertently jeopardizing the success of their gender initiatives. Without the avid support of men, who are arguably the most powerful group of stakeholders in most large corporations, significant progress toward ending gender disparities is unlikely.
Knowing that men are crucial to moving forward, we need to motivate and engage them. Based on in-depth interviews and surveys of senior male managers in business, Catalyst research explores the question of how best to do this.
Making Change as an Individual
Many people who are not in formal Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) roles already champion change in their workplaces by personal example. These individuals, especially men, can be powerful ambassadors for change, particularly with other men who are not yet fully on board with organizational D&I goals. Catalyst’s Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series offers these champions insights about how to influence male peers to support gender initiatives.
Men Advocating Real Change (MARC)
MARC is an online learning community created by Catalyst for professionals committed to achieving equality in the workplace. MARC empowers community members to engage in candid conversations about gender, its impact in the workplace, and how to lead change through member-generated advice, insights, and best practices. Membership is free and open to anyone seeking to drive change in the workplace. Join today.
Making Change as a D&I Professional
The Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series was written to help D&I practitioners with one of the most important and difficult tasks they face: generating buy-in and support for D&I initiatives. With a specific emphasis on gender-focused initiatives, these reports offer practitioners strategic insights on how to win men’s support for change.
First Steps: Engaging Men
Want to learn more? Catalyst’s First Steps: Engaging Men tool provides a detailed overview of why men need to be engaged in gender diversity issues and how organizations and individuals can make change. It is aimed at both HR/D&I practitioners and individuals interested in devising and implementing strategies for leveraging all talent in the workplace. By engaging men in creating more equal workplaces, we're creating better leaders, stronger businesses and more fulfilling lives for both women and men.