On the journey to a gender equal world, women cannot do it alone, because doing it alone means fighting against men. Rather, what we want and need is to fight alongside men. We need to build a future where we can complement each other instead of bringing each other down.
The workplace dynamics
It is no secret that for centuries our society was based on the patriarchal model, meaning that men are the ones who bring the meal to the table. In more modern terms, they were the main workforce predominantly – CEOs, managers, etc. Most recently, this has been rapidly changing in many places globally. Women have fought and earned seats at the table. Women have become founders of countless innovative start-ups, successful entrepreneurs, CEOs of big corporations, intrapreneurial leaders, leaders of countries and much more. But to achieve complete equality at the workplace, men need to become dedicated to helping women further – as allies.
Main problems and becoming an ally
Becoming an ally is not an easy task, because men need to learn how to unlearn centuries of sexist biases. Luckily, there are quite some men out there, who are already laying the foundation of a sexism-free world. Like Brad Johnson and David Smith who took their time to research how men can become allies to women. Together they wrote a book called “Good Guys,” where they depict “How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace.”
The men refer to the fact that for a very long time it has been men who have made the rules at the workplace, lacking the willingness to understand how this affects women and to change. Today, a lot of men want to understand and become part of the solution; but their bigger struggle is being vocal about it. Namely in situations where they have to call out a colleague or other discriminatory practices.
Another issue is awareness and empathy. In the world of intrapreneurs, for example, forging a new future is highly dependent on the formation of meaningful personal connections with female colleagues. If men understand that women are often at a disadvantage at meetings, when giving presentations, or when negotiating, it is in their hands to help women change this. Therefore, instead of getting on a high horse, men should invest time in finding out how a woman might need their support.
In the entrepreneurial world it is no less an issue. For companies where there are male and female co-founders, it is likely that the male founder is taken more seriously. However, men should not use this as an opportunity, but rather work alongside their female counterpart to figure out effective solutions. Or, for the very least, they should be open to listening and learning if they are still trying to understand the issue.
Co-creating a new future
Even though not all industries are dominated by men, a sentiment of the past still remains everywhere. It is difficult to replace elements of a broken system, we need to reimagine it completely! That is why it is important to understand that male allyship is about partnering with women. It isn’t just about making space for women in a male dominated environment, but rather co-creating a brand new business environment side by side.