Organizational Factors and Personal Agency Influence Men’s Willingness to Interrupt SexismJune 25, 2020
New Catalyst research highlights that men’s personal agency determines whether or not they respond directly.
Toronto, Canada — A new Catalyst study finds that the level of men’s commitment, confidence, and awareness of the benefits of their actions, as well as their workplace cultures, predict how men say they would interrupt sexism at work. In the report, Catalyst, the global expert in accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion, delves into the role these factors play in influencing men’s reactions to workplace sexism.
According to the report, Interrupting Sexism at Work: What Drives Men to Respond Directly or Do Nothing?, “personal agency”—a sense of control over one’s actions, decisions, and impacts—is directly linked to men’s intent to take direct action to confront workplace sexism. In addition, a negative organizational climate is a factor that stifles men in interrupting sexism, increasing the likelihood that they do nothing.
Catalyst researchers Negin Sattari, Emily Shaffer, Sarah DiMuccio, and Dnika J. Travis surveyed nearly 1,500 men across job levels working in Canada and found that 44% of men’s intent to directly interrupt a sexist event in their workplace is explained by four aspects of personal agency:
- Men more committed to dismantling sexism, confident in their ability to interrupt, aware of the positive benefits of interrupting, and invested in the impact on the common good are more likely to directly interrupt sexism.
In addition, 41% of men’s intent to do nothing to interrupt a sexist event in their workplace is explained by three organizational factors:
- Organizational climates perceived by men to be more silencing, combative, and futile are associated with doing nothing in response to sexism at work.
“This study highlights the fact that many men want to join in the solution to interrupt sexism in the workplace,” said Tanya van Biesen, Executive Director, Canada, Catalyst. “And it takes the critical next step to offer actions to both individual men and companies and leaders about how to dismantle cultures and systems that perpetuate workplace sexism.”
Learn more and read the study.
This project has been funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.
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Catalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership—because progress for women is progress for everyone.
Naomi R. Patton
Vice President, Media & Public Relations
Canada Communications Consultant