Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: What Change Agents Need to Know (Report)May 04, 2009
Catalyst believes that men have a critical role to play in diversity and inclusion efforts, especially initiatives to eliminate gender bias. Yet too often men are an untapped resource in such gender initiatives. To address this gap, Catalyst has embarked on a new series of research called Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives, which offers evidence-based advice about the most effective ways to partner with men in ending gender inequalities at work.
The report’s findings supported the view that before individuals will support efforts to right an inequality they 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. Other findings revealed three key factors that predicted men’s awareness of gender bias: 1) defiance of certain masculine norms, 2) the presence or absence of women mentors, and 3) a sense of fair play. Of those three factors, having a strong sense of fair play, defined as a strong commitment to the ideals of fairness, was what also best differentiated men who actively championed gender equality from those who were not similarly engaged. Lastly, interview findings revealed three key barriers that could undermine men’s support for initiatives to end gender bias: apathy, fear, and ignorance about gender issues.