PROBLEM, OPPORTUNITIES AND SOLUTIONS FOR GENDER EQUALITY IN CORPORATE CULTURE
In this talk, Dale Thomas Vaughn, Co Founder of Gender Leadership Group covers the problem, the opportunities, and the solutions he sees in the corporate culture as related to gender equality and partnership. He shares interesting statistics, that even men are uncomfortable with existing masculinity in the corporate culture, what gender equality has in it for men, his experience and fresh perspectives as a millennial male ally.
Jan Hutchins welcomes Dale to the stage at the Better Man Conference 2017 for his talk entitled Systemic Solutions for Corporate Culture Change.
The next speaker is one of the three Co Founders of the General Leadership Group and you may be interested to know a bit about this guy, who’s the millennial guy in the group. Dale began his career in communications in South West Airlines and Ticket Master Live Nation, so, he’s got style. He was acknowledged in 2012 as a leader of men of quality by feminist attorney, Gloria Allred, and he has recently presented at the international conference in Massachusetts in Masculinities, the Women in Tech International Summit, and the SHRM, pronounced ‘shrum’, Diversity And Inclusion Conference. Please welcome, here is Dale Thomas Vaughn.
Dale Thomas Vaughn:
Hello everyone. I am a millennial, do we have any other millennials in the room, or any gen-z in the room? Hey, we got some, okay, cool. I like to talk to that group of people sometimes, because there’s a huge amount of hope I have for our generation, and I'm going to show you some stats about that. We're going to talk about systemic solutions for corporate culture change, and I'm going to do this quickly, and then we're going to get into a panel from which I think you guys are going to get a lot of takeaways from. So let’s start here.
A little bit about me. I started doing this work when I was fifteen or sixteen years old. I actually started in a space of ending sexual violence, sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual abuse. I became an activist around that, I went to a domestic violence shelter, I interned, I made a hotline, I learned how to become a counselor to survivors of assault and abuse. During that time I started asking these questions, “Why is this allowed? Why does this exists? How could a world where I see a lot of men in charge allow other men to be violent? How is that allowed?” That led me down, at a very young age, to one of those dark roads of understanding how broken masculinity as a culture actually is.
THE PLACE THAT MOST OF US NOW ARE ENCOUNTERING THE FRICTION OF GENDER, OR ANY OTHER ISSUE, IS IN THE WORKPLACE
That led me into a whole world of healthy masculinity, understanding gender, understanding how to get into that. And then I had this reality, once I was working at Southwest Airlines and I was a TicketMaster, that the place where I was encountering it at school, high school or college, changed once I graduated and went into the corporate world. The place that most of us now are encountering the friction of gender, or any other issue, is in the workplace. So if we're going to have a conversation, it has to be about how we do systemic change in the corporate culture. That’s kind of where I come from.
I’ve spoken at a few places, you can get deeper into my work at a Ted-X talk called How Great Men Think Alike, (you can go) deeper into my story if you want to go there. I want to also point out the Good Men Project; if you’re not familiar with that, that’s a great resource. We reach about 4 million people a month about the conversation around what it means to be a man, in all different contexts around social justice. If you don't know the traffic levels, that’s roughly Oprah.com level, just about what it means to be a good man.
THE PROBLEM, OPPORTUNITY AND SOLUTIONS
This is the stuff we're going to cover today; The problem, opportunity and solutions....and what everybody in this room is kind of here for; What’s my role? What’s my responsibility in this as a leader, as a person, etc.
So, the first thing is the problem. Maybe some of you have seen this (photo on left), this is from LEAN IN and McKinsey. This is the actual representation of the pipeline. If you haven't seen this before, you might notice that the end here where we have the entry level, it’s not quite equal, but it’s closer. And you see towards the end, you got a very small percentage of women in leadership roles. Now, obviously all of you know that, but what I’ve been hearing a lot when I go to speak at women’s conferences is, I have women saying, “I have felt the glass ceiling hit me, I have felt it come up against my life.” I think women encounter this in a really much more tangible way, and often from men I hear this a lot in companies where I go for consulting, “We have a women president,” or “We have a women vice president,” like a tokenism of, “I can recognize that there’s a leader in my company that’s not like me, and so that means we have solved this issue.”
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS AN ENTRENCHED MALE CULTURE and SOME MEN EVEN FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH EXISTING MASCULINITY IN THE MALE CULTURE AT WORK
I think this is compelling, because it shows us there’s a real problem and that it’s something we can quantify. When I started doing this work, these statistics weren't really available, so now that we have them, let’s use them. I admit our group is an HR group that’s not just about what it means to be a man and powerful. They said, “The holdup is that the biggest problem is an entrenched male culture.” I think what’s fascinating is they found that this is a barrier men acknowledged must change as well, which to me says that men also feel uncomfortable with masculinity in the male culture at work.
Just for my own gratification, I’d like to know how many guys in this room have felt uncomfortable in a male culture in your workplace? Raise your hand. It’s like the majority, thank you. I know, I have as well. I grew up an athlete, I grew fighting for my space, but I got into the corporate culture and thought, “Why is that still here? That should be for the field or whatever." Why are we doing that in the workplace? I never felt comfortable in that.
MORE THAN HALF OF THE MILLENNIAL MEN THINK THAT THEY ENJOY MORE ADVANTAGES THAN WOMEN IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, BUT LESS THAN 20% OF THEM IDENTIFY AS FEMINISTS
This is a Spring 2016 Harvard Public Opinion Project poll that gives me hope. It says that, “More than half of the millennial men think that they enjoy more advantages than women in American society. But, less than 20% of them identify as feminists.” To me, this is the opportunity of our lifetimes, that a majority or a near majority of men of a generation get that there is a problem but only 20% of my generation identify as being part of the solution. That’s a huge problem, it’s also a huge opportunity! It’s what I'm getting into a little bit more today.
When we have a chance to talk to our panelist about their corporate solutions, we're going to get a little bit into the millennial generation and gen-z upcoming.
So, the opportunity. How many of you – you’re all in business – if I told you that you could have 300% more revenue this year, how many of you would do whatever I told you to do? All of you, right? You’d say, “I'd run through walls for 300% more revenue”. This is something from UC Davis, firms with the greatest gender diversity among executives and board members, earn 300% more revenue and 50% higher profit than the average company. And they have studied 400 public companies.
I give you this statistic as one of the thousands of statistics you can find because where we start when we go into companies – and some of those companies are in this room – we start with the business case. If you are trying to convince men to be involved in this conversation, starting with irrefutable facts, means that they can't use that as their logic out. Give them a fact like this, “300%! What wouldn't you do for that?” And they’ll say, “Okay, I will probably do almost anything for 300% more revenue.” Any leader in any company would say that.
They’ll say again, “Alright, gender partnership is good for business, but what’s in it for me? I am busy. Why do I need to be the one who takes care of this?” This is also high minded apathy, there’s a problem, but I'm not really required to solve it.
LET’S GET INTO WHAT MEN ACTUALLY GAIN PERSONALLY
Let’s get into what men actually gain personally. I'm really glad Michael Kimmel was here and he gave you a much deeper dive into this. This is some of his quotes, he says:
Less time at work
More quantity AND quality time with loved ones
Better relationship satisfaction
Raise your hands. You might be a feminist. I like the way Ray is raising his hand there (in the slide). This is just like, “Duh!” but at the same time we have to talk to men about what is in it for them personally. I get this question a lot..“I'm a sales guy, I'm on the field and I'm working to make my quotas. I have clients to meet, I got stuff to do, I got paperwork to file. Why is this something you need me to do?” Dale replies with, “Well, it’s good for business, it’s good for me personally, okay.” Is it top priority, is the question, right?
$28 TRILLION ADDITIONAL ANNUAL GDP POSSIBLE IF WE BRIDGE THE GENDER INEQUALITY GAP
And I end up going to the moral case. This is something that has always influenced me, and this is some interesting research again from McKinsey, that 28 trillion dollars of additional annual GDP within ten years (this was put out in 2015), is the possibility if we bridge the gender inequality gap. That’s the highest level possible! $12 trillion if we just matched best-in-region country in progress. There’s a deeper dive there..but the point is $12 to $28 trillion dollars worth of annual revenue to the world that is just going waste because we have done a bad job of gender equality.
Let me put that into perspective, What could you do with $28 trillion dollars? You could literally end global poverty, you could get clean water for everyone in the world, college for everyone (that’s a U.S. statistic), you can get U.S. student loan forgiveness (now that’s gone up a little bit), world hunger could be solved, $267 billion per year over the next 15 years, so let’s say that that’s 3 trillion dollars, send humans to Mars and bring them back, by the way. These are all last minutes of every research I’ve been talking about, I'm going to show you deeper pieces of that. The point of that is, we could do all that stuff and still have $22.6 trillion dollars left over after one year, that’s just one year!
LET'S GET INTO THE SOLUTIONS
The point I want to make is, we could pretty much solve every problem if we started here, we can all agree. This is where I start to get hopeful, because I think that my generation gets that, I think there’s an opportunity here. 97% of millennials think their generation will finally achieve equality of opportunity for emerging female leaders. That might seem like a pie in the sky, it might seem naïve, it might seem innocent, but it’s also a reality of their expectations walking into your recruitment pools, walking into your client companies, walking into your RFPs. So if you are not paying attention to what millennials, as a vast majority, believe is possible, your business might be missing out on opportunity. Again, this makes what we're talking about, gender equality and gender partnership, a very high priority, which we would all agree at this point.
Let’s get into the solutions. Let’s say you all in this room believe me that gender equality would be good, is that true? Can I get a round of applause for saying gender equality would be good?
That just felt good to hear. So, let’s get into solutions.
To Be Continued..
Better Man Conference 2017 Recap Report
We are proud to share this recap report from the Better Man Conference 2017 as just last month, 200+ leaders and many great diverse speakers and panelists, both men and women came together to be a part of the movement to engage men as inclusionary leaders at the Better Man Conference 2017. This year we grew in both quantity and quality. That’s due to your involvement. We thank each and every attendee, speaker, sponsor, marketing partner, and supporter for being such an important part of the men's inclusionary leadership movement. See the recap report here.