How Organizations Can Encourage Men to Interrupt Sexism (Report)Jul 14, 2022
As sexism against women in the workplace persists globally, many men want to be part of the solution. They have several advantages: Men hold most positions of power in organizations; they face fewer costs than women do when challenging other men for being sexist; and their responses to sexist comments are more likely to be considered than if they came from a woman.
However, we know that not all men intervene when they see or hear sexist comments in the workplace—and that in many situations, even men committed to combatting sexism against women may do nothing in response to a sexist act.
What can organizations do to help men become better partners in the struggle against workplace sexism?
Interrupting Sexism at Work, Catalyst’s global research series on the organizational conditions that encourage or discourage men from responding when they witness incidences of sexism at work, sought to answer this question.
Through studies in 12 countries across three global regions, we found three major actions organizations can take to engage more men in combatting workplace sexism:
- Address systemic issues that perpetuate a climate of silence, a combative culture, and a climate of futility in the workplace. Data show that a large portion of men’s intent to do nothing in response to a sexist comment can be attributed to these three negative organizational conditions.
- Challenge rigid standards of masculinity and address systemic issues that increase masculine anxiety among men in the workplace. Data show a direct link between masculine anxiety and men’s intent to do nothing. Masculine anxiety also boosts the link between a combative culture and doing nothing.
- Create an environment where managers are open and employees feel heard. Data show a link between manager openness and men’s intent to directly interrupt sexism. Manager openness can also improve employee feelings of being heard, which is also linked to men’s intent to directly interrupt sexism.
To view the country-specific data related to each recommendation, choose a country from the list below: