How Men Can Show Up as Gender Partners During Covid-19 (Blog Post)
With the dynamics of households and workplaces disrupted due to the coronavirus, men now have a unique opportunity to engage as gender partners. At home and at work, you can build and reinforce relationships and help ensure that the “new normal” advances equity and inclusion.
Below are four work/life scenarios during this crisis. Regardless of whether you are working from home or are in a location-specific position, you can strengthen your gender partnerships with these tips.
For men living with a partner at home: The dynamic of your household is most likely shaken to its core. Traditional roles are crumbling to make space for pragmatism—to what works best for you and your situation. Work with your companion, regardless of gender identity, to identify the tasks and responsibilities in which each of you thrives. Don’t allow stereotypical gender roles to dictate your division of labor.
If you have childcare or eldercare duties, and you are both working the same hours, organize “on-call” hours equitably in rotating shifts, making a schedule that allows you both to balance your responsibilities. You can adjust the schedule daily or as often as needed. Make sure to communicate with one another, as feedback and the ability to pivot quickly are key when two people are working under one roof.
For men who have the privilege of being able to work remotely: Resist the urge to make gendered assumptions—based on unconscious biases—about your coworkers. Many of us are taking on more tasks, possibly even new ones. Some men may now have more caregiving responsibilities than ever before—and therefore may no longer have the same bandwidth they used to have to undertake certain assignments. At the same time, there is no legitimate reason to assume that the women you work with will be less productive than anyone else.
Keep in mind: The digital workplace is not sexism-proof. Sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviors are not limited to in-person interactions. Gender partnership involves role-modeling healthy and appropriate behaviors in remote working situations too. For example, be mindful to not speak over women—or anyone—in video calls, and reach out to colleagues whom you might have previously overlooked for collaborative work.
For men working in a physical location: Self-care does not come easily for many men—but it is critical. You may have to choose between taking a day or more off from work, with no pay, to get medical attention or go to work to feed your family at the expense of your health. Many men very often choose to forego health care, and in fact, men are less likely than women to go to the doctor. Comply with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines, and seek medical attention if you are in need.
For all men, regardless of employment and domestic situation: Remember to be a good partner to other men. Many of us are being challenged to our core during this pandemic. Some of us will not be able to provide an income; some of us will become caregivers. Many of us feel isolated. Now is the time to connect with the men in your life: colleagues, relatives, and friends. Ask them how they are managing. If you are struggling yourself, share your own experiences; open communication and connection breed empathy and inclusion.
As Senior Director of MARC Branding, Ludo was responsible for developing and executing the MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) brand amplification strategy. He acted as a voice for MARC to ensure the continued and growing recognition and strength of the MARC brand and the impact it represents. Ludo is also…