Although women are quite capable of making the case themselves for executive leadership positions, and do, the question remains, “Can we really get there by ourselves”?. The answer seems to me to be very clear, we cannot. The only way we can achieve our goal of complete equality is if men and women move together, to challenge the blocks experienced by both sexes to open dialogue about what works best, that make this outcome not seem so distant.
Although conversation has been initiated it needs a lot more participation.
UN Women have achieved significant media attention for gender equality with HeforShe on a world stage, pointing out that this is an issue that affects all people. Emma Watson’s involvement as a Goodwill ambassador at its launch no doubt helped.
Many individual men I talk to in private, do encourage women to do the things that will bring them to the attention of the those with influence in an organisation. This is confirmed by the many successful women who tell me that it was their male mentor/boss/champion/father who ‘gave them permission” to push the envelope and reach for the stars.
The benefit is mutual. Michael Kimmel has a great take on it in his Ted Talk where he focuses on why equality is good for everyone!
But a new recent development is the work of Jeffery Tobias Halter who has written a book, just out called Why Women (At present only available in the States). Previously the Director of Diversity Strategy for Coca-Cola,he is the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership issues. Take a look at his TedTalk in St Louis recently.
He describes graphically the male point of view, giving statistics on the costs of continuing the way we are and listing 4 things men can do to change the conversation.
He makes great suggestions but his reason for doing it is the most telling aspect for me. He has a daughter and ‘gets it’ about why it doesn’t work for her to be less valued than her male counterparts. When men ‘get” the cost, both to themselves and to women, they will and do take up the challenge. Thank you Jeffery!