WHERE ARE ALL THE MEN?
JAMES HERBERTSON, DIRECTOR
LONDON NEST | LONDON
It’s wonderful that the gender inequality debate in the international education industry is gaining momentum. But the question on our lips right now has got to be: where are all the men?
Last month there was an encouraging turn out to Lead5050’s second Coaching and Cava event, where professionals in our sector gather to develop their careers, network and learn. We discussed topics as wide as finding your confident voice to how to deal with conflict. However, the elephant in the room was the fact that few men showed up.
To effect any real change around gender inequality, we need the male of the species to get involved. Men and women must engage in it equally and one great way to do that is to come to events like this and face the issue together.
Ladies, next time bring a man along and explain to them it’s not about women slagging off men. It’s about supporting each other with challenges anyone faces in getting to the top, regardless of gender. Men can share concerns they can’t elsewhere and get an insight from a female perspective. For me what was fascinating was that when the women present shared their challenges, the issues were not because they were women more in spite of it.
Of course, there’s more us men can do aside from attending Lead5050 events. For example, we can listen to Ted talks on gender equality by speakers such as Elizabeth Nyanamoro, head of UN Women’s HeForShe initiative. We can read books like The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality in the Workplace, The Inclusion Imperative and What Works – Gender Equality by Design. And we can listen to the women in our lives talk about their experiences of the glass ceiling.
In the world at large, many men are speaking out, getting involved in and taking action for gender equality. The Dalai Lama has publicly declared himself a feminist because he fights for women’s rights. Musician John Legend nailed it when he told his audience: “All men should be feminists. We are better off when women are empowered – it leads to a better society”. Hollywood actors including Ryan Gosling, Will Smith and Mad Men’s John Hamm have made open statements in support of women’s equal rights.
In the non-celebrity world we have people like Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder of Token Man, which interviews and challenges CEOs about gender diversity and runs workshops provoking companies to think about the issue in their workplaces. Andy Woodfield, UK leader of PwC’s international development consulting practice, promotes gender equality as an opportunity to improve business performance rather than an issue for women, and uses his power and profile to support initiatives such as Action Breaks Silence.
Let’s remember that men supporting gender equality are not ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. Far from it. It’s beneficial to have a workforce that feels valued, is rewarded fairly and where women – who represent more than 50% of our clients – are represented 50% or more in the company. This can only lead to better outcomes for our businesses.
So come on men, let’s all be part of the solution.
I look forward to seeing more of you at our next Lead505 event in London on Monday 29 January 2018. To register for the event, please e-mail Ola Gasza: firstname.lastname@example.org