10 Reasons Men Should Care About Gender EqualityMarch 23, 2012
How does gender equality benefit you?
For gender equality to be achieved, both women and men need to be active participants in the change process. This is why my initial research in the 1970s focused on men and women sharing in both paid work and in caring for their children.
It has been somewhat frustrating though over this period of time, being both a participant and an observer of the debate about gender equality. Often the arguments and initiatives involving men have lacked an evidence base and many have been paternalistic in nature.
Further, the diversity within men is often not recognized. Yet, there is both a need and a continuing appetite for responses to questions such as:
- “What can or should men do about gender equality?”
- “How can I engage men in gender equality initiatives in my own organization?”
- “Why should men care about gender equality?”
Emphatically, men should care about gender equality both within and outside the work context because they will:
1. Benefit from the better decisions and reduced risks for workplaces and the community, resulting from the greater sharing of power and decision-making in public and private life.
2. Experience enhanced psychological development and well-being resulting from their being active participants in the process of change to improve outcomes for women in terms of economic and social resources, power, work opportunities, and health and well-being.
3. Work in organizations that are more productive and creative, resulting from workplaces having a greater diversity of perspectives.
4. Work with the best people, resulting from the workforce being drawn from a broader talent pool.
5. Experience higher quality work resulting from greater teamwork and collaboration, and a reduced emphasis on competitiveness.
6. Experience lower levels of stress, resulting from having a greater investment in life outside work.
7. Have higher quality personal/intimate relationships, resulting from having personal lives that are based on gender equality in relationships. For those who are partnered, this should also result in improved economic security and social well-being.
8. Experience enhanced personal growth and development, as well as increased skills, resulting from being actively involved as fathers and by making a significant contribution to their children’s well-being.
9. Experience greater life satisfaction, resulting from increased involvement in caring for people who are elderly, disabled, or ill.
10. Experience an increased sense of purpose being active participants in a significant process of change.
Graeme Russell is a researcher and consultant based in Sydney, Australia. For over 40 years, he has had a research, policy, and consulting focus on gender equality, diversity, and flexibility and works mainly in private sector organizations, particularly at senior levels to challenge and change mindsets and behaviors.