Men: Be the Hero
Being pro-women does not mean being anti-men. We want -- and need -- men to work with us as partners to redefine how the workplace should work for everyone’s benefit.
The major work to be done is pushing against the status quo and questioning whether existing ways of working, operational practices and cultures really reflect today’s values and drive engagement for men and women alike.
It's not about separating the men from the women -- forming an internal women’s group is not the answer in isolation. It's about finding better ways to work together.
It also does not have to be about looking in the rearview mirror and revisiting past generations’ ways to doing things. It is about looking forward and making it work now.
There are tremendous benefits to be gained, benefits we all reap:
- Companies in the top quartile for diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above industry medians.
- Companies with higher gender equality outperform others by 11 percent and consistently outperform the market.
- Companies with at least 15 percent female more senior managers have 18 percent higher profitability.
- Companies with strong female leadership achieve a 6.5 percentage point increase in return on equity.
- Companies with at least one woman on their board achieve a compound excess return on equity of 3.5 percent per year.
- Companies with a woman CEO achieve 19 percent higher profitability.
There are small things you can do right away that start to change the tide. Mentor an up-and-coming female co-worker. Introduce women you work with to key men in your networks and vice versa. Make sure you evenly distribute or rotate the administrative/housekeeping tasks at work among male and female team members. Ensure women get time to present in a meaningful way in key meetings. Go to bat for professional development specific to women.
Changing the status quo can feel like a monumental task. But, like any big effort, it can be broken down into small tasks that you can start chipping away at right now. Momentum will start to build, and then it will begin to carry itself and generate its own energy and excitement. Each next step gets easier.
To the men who have been great partners and mentors and have helped, we say thank you. Please keep helping, keep the dialogue going and set a great example for others. You make it possible for us all to win.
(By Michelle Bogan. Bogan is founder and CEO of Equity for Women.)