Media and Communications Manager
This week US gender expert Michael Kimmel spent time with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency discussing ways to engage men in the journey to gender equality. His three key pieces of advice are:
1. Make gender visible
“This is the first obstacle to bringing men into this discussion,” Dr Kimmel said.
For many men, gender is something they see as a ‘woman’s issue’. Until men recognise that they face issues particular to their own gender, and that it is important to address them, gender equality will not be achieved.
2. Create space for discussions about men’s issues at work
Men need space, both culturally and literally, to discuss issues particular to their gender. Dr Kimmel says that often men will not discuss issues that are affecting them openly, such as difficulty accessing flexible work. They may even be reticent to talk about their flexible working arrangements - if they have them.
“Men can be walking the walk, but they are not talking the walk,” he said, “Men need to ‘out’ themselves as egalitarian.”
Employers can address this by creating work cultures and programs that encourage men to openly discuss issues they face in the workplace.
3. Engage men as stakeholders
Many organisations are taking great steps to improve gender equality in their workplace. However, until employers see the men in their organisation as a key stakeholder group who should be engaged when creating change, gender equality will always be a one-sided journey.
“We cannot fully empower women and girls without also engaging boys and men,” Dr Kimmel said.
For more information on gender equality in your workplace visit our Data Explorer.