Men have an undeniable power and privilege in the workplace, how can they leverage those in order to empower their female colleagues?
Our CEO Shaniqua Davis was recently at the 31st annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion that opened the third week of April. Davis sat on the panel about “Redefining Masculinity in Leadership” and told attendees about the need for male allies in the workplace.
One attendee, Quinn Gorski wondered if he should be doing more for the women he mentors. SHRM revealed that Gorski wanted to know “How can he empower women without being patronizing?”
Davis suggested men start with simple questions like: “How can I be there for you?” and “How can I help you?”
Women often know exactly all the ways they’re being underserved, undervalued and overlooked. If men move their biases to the side and put themselves in a position to be of service to female colleagues, a lot could be done for gender equity at work.
Miloney Thakrar, the founder of Mind the Gender Gap, Inc., moderated the session. Terri Brax, co-founder, and CEO of Women Tech Founders was also a panelist alongside Davis.
Complexities of gender and race have been at the forefront over the last few years and now men are faced with having these nuanced conversations, shared Ted Bunch. He’s the co-founder of A Call to Men, a violence-prevention organization in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
[bctt tweet=”We’re the first generation of men being held accountable [for things] that men have always gotten away with. – Ted Bunch of @acalltomen” username=”noirefy”]
“We’re the first generation of men being held accountable [for things] that men have always gotten away with,” he said according to SHRM.
The grievances of women in the workplace go further back than Anita Hill and will not stop with the notoriety of the #MeToo movement.
Biases are created at a young age and they compound onto one another so much so that we begin to make up life stories for people we don’t even know. Bunch says this is certainly at play for boys who grow up saying things like he “throws like a girl.” These boys eventually grow up and see no reality where women are in leadership roles.
SHRM writes that Bunch called this “the man box.” What’s the man box?
Bunch described it to the audience as an unhealthily narrow view of masculinity that insists a man should be tough, strong, aggressive, stoic and in charge—and that implies that asking for help or being too nice are signs of weakness.
“These are messages that men come into the workplace with,” Bunch said.
These messages permeate in life and at work. Whether we’re talking victim blaming, slut shaming or upholding the glass ceiling above women’s heads. Biases permeate and when they go unchecked they can be incredibly toxic and dangerous for women.
Today, we’re excited that panels like these exist so that we can continue on the road too equity, freedom and reform.
Learn more about why women’s workplace progress has seemingly stalled and why gender equality is good for everyone.