Last week we began sharing a transcript and video of a series entitled, "Allies In Action". This week in part 2, a recent Catalyst study on how to engage men shows 74% of men interviewed are having real fears of getting involved in gender equality. I, Co Founder of Inclusionary Leadership Group and Founder of the Better Man Conference will share tips on how men who want to be allies to gender equality can move through that fear next week in this blog. This week in part 2 of "Allies in Action", Rachana Bhide of Bloomberg and Founder of The Corner Of The Court Project cites the top 3 fears from that study and asks corporate male leader allies if they should be taken in to account when recruiting male allies. But first she asks them to comment on their own experience as related to the question, "What are some of the things that men then do as allies to carry forward so it's not a once-and-done?"
This discussion took place at the Better Man Conference 2017 - Engaging Men As Allies where Rachana was joined by Jon Murphy, Sr. Dir. of Sales Operations at Blue Shield and Co-Founder of the Manning Up for Gender Inclusion Program along with Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a CEO lead public policy and advocacy organization.
What are some of the things that men then do as allies to carry forward so it's not a once-and-done? What are some behaviors that we can take away that make this behavior sustainable?
IT'S A CONSTANT FOCUS, IT'S NOT A ONCE-AND-DONE
It's a constant focus. This is a new muscle for me. Like I said, a year ago was when I was approached to participate in getting men more involved in supporting women in leadership. If I had been asked to do this a year ago, I would have been (like), "Oh, absolutely not. I don't know what to say. I'm terrified to say anything!” Here I am a year later and I'm on a panel talking about it. So it's not a once-and-done, it's a muscle.
Something I recently took on was talking about race in the workplace, which for me is very uncomfortable. I was approached by our Black Employee Network Resource group and I think I am getting the reputation of saying, "Yes." to everything by the way (but they said,) "Hey, John, we want a white male privileged person on this panel to talk about Charlottesville.” This just happened a few weeks ago. I was honored to be approached. I said, "Absolutely, I'm on board. I'm doing this because I want to get really comfortable talking about race in the workplace.” So, I'm in a room with about fifty of my colleagues, many of them are black, their arms are crossed and I'm looking at them and thinking, "Oh crap, there has got to be an easier way to get more comfortable talking about race in the workplace.” So my advice is (to) throw yourself out there, just go for it and keep working the muscle.
THROW YOURSELF OUT THERE, JUST GO FOR IT
Even today, I was talking with Angela, who is busy writing down a lot of action items for me I think. She's my partner in this but a gentleman at our table was explaining something to her and she said something like, "What?" And I mansplained it to her and she just immediately called me out on it. I mean, even as much as I'm into this, I still have to keep working the muscle as well.
One of the things we did as an organization was we formed a Gender Equity Committee. And from the beginning it was a popular committee. When we had the committee meetings they were really well attended and guess what the audience and the attendees looked like? They looked like women with a couple of men here and there. My friend, Ray Arata who helped organize this movement and I talked a lot about it and he really provided some encouragement. We took some steps to forge men's entry into the conversation. We actually held an event down in Redwood City in which the only participants on the panel were men, to talk about gender equity and what it meant to be allies. I think that was a kind of forward movement at the time, it was a few years ago. Rayona Sharpnack who was here a few minutes ago, I think she may have stepped out, was involved with us in organizing that event.
HAVE THE CONVERSATION, DON'T BE AFRAID TO HAVE IT
Have the conversation, don't be afraid to have it. It may be a little uncomfortable for people at times but once you get people started talking about this, one of the things you find is that (we) men, like women, we all have our experiences and there's a lot to learn from that. And it tends to have the effect that people wanting to step forward. The other thing was, again, what Victor said was, "Think in advance about what you are doing.” We encourage organizations to do that and that's why we put out the Best Practice Guide that you can read on www.BayAreaEconomy.org. We put out a guide that's a great compilation of things companies are doing to move the needle in this area. It's really been a step up for us and now we're doing another report on family friendly policies with the likes of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Packard Foundation. That will come out later this year.
THINK ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO HIRE WOMEN INTO LEADERSHIP
Step out in front, have the conversation, and certainly be thinking in advance about the moves so when you're hiring somebody, think about the opportunity to hire women into leadership before you finally ask yourself the question, "Why didn't we do it?"
And those reports that Jim mentioned are at the website www.BayAreaEconomy.org
Which is a sister organization of www.BayAreaCouncil.org
There's some fantastic information there and it sounds like you're always doing more research so check them out. I'm going to jump into something because, John, you brought up Charlottesville. I went to UVA (for) undergrad, so I appreciated you bringing up Charlottesville. And also something you both touched on which is, how willing are men to be part of something that might expose vulnerability?
IN A RECENT STUDY OF HOW TO ENGAGE MEN, 74% OF MEN INTERVIEWED HAD REAL FEARS OF GETTING INVOLVED IN GENDER EQUALITY
In a recent Catalyst study of how to engage men, I'm looking at my figure here, 74% of men interviewed had real fears of getting involved in gender equality, and John, you also brought up another point of diversity around race.
The masculine norms that came up about why men are fearful, and we've been talking about toxic masculinity were:
1ST IS MAKING MISTAKES AND SAYING THE WRONG THING
2ND IS LOSING STATUS AND PRIVILEGE
3RD IS OTHER MEN'S DISAPPROVAL
Do any of those three resonate or sound like barriers that we should be considering as we take forward what we're learned today to get more men involved?
I touched on it earlier but you have to make mistakes. When I was contacted to be a part of this, I thought I would talk to Ray and as I was explaining to him what Angela and I were up to and he would give me the book and say, "Dude, we already figured this out, here's the recipe book, here's how you do it." Obviously we're in one of the most liberal places on the planet and we're still having these discussions today. We've made mistakes and we're constantly course correcting on how we can improve, how we're getting the word out and getting men more involved.
COME TO THESE THINGS, SHOW THAT YOU'RE SUPPORTIVE, DON'T JUST TELL ME, THAT DOESN'T COUNT
We're a bit frustrated as well! We participated today, we had free tickets to give out and we advertised a lot. In my "Out Of Office" (email auto-responder) today I put where I'm at and I put the website and everything because everyone is very supportive but I gotta see it. Come to these things, show me that you're supportive, don't just tell me, that doesn't count.
I was afraid of all of those things and I was reticent to get involved. Ray encouraged me, and I went through a lot of gobbledygook about maybe why not. Then eventually I stepped in and I was really rewarded by a lot of folks, men and women, who thought it was really important and timely for us to do this. I was absolutely sure this had nothing to do with any privilege that I held as a man and I'm absolutely sure that I was wrong in thinking that as well. It's very convenient for men to think that it's some other thing than that, until you really explore it. Given the work that we've done over the last couple of years and the myriads of speakers that we've had and the exposure we've had to the issues. We've been really fortunate to be part of this work and this experience. I've learned a lot and opened up a lot to it. But it doesn't happen right away, I think it's a process we go through.
I'm going to weave two themes from two speakers earlier based on what you both have just mentioned. The first is Victor talking about being an ally in advance and being intentional upfront. It sounds like just based on what you both said, that that wasn't necessarily the case.
I CALL ON ALL OF YOU TO BE INTENTIONAL
We have some fabulous examples up here in these two gentlemen of great allyship that wasn't done in advance. So I would call to all of you to be intentional and what additional great things can happen. The other thing I wanted to mention was I intentionally brought up your families and specifically that you both have daughters in the intro. That is information you can find on the website, certainly about Jim.
You John, when we met you introduced yourself as why this is important and I want to go back to something that Michael Kimmel talked about this morning which I talk a lot about (and) is unconscious advocacy. That's basically what came out of my research at Columbia University, which is that men play natural roles as allies. Michael Kimmel said that every man has a genetic connection to a woman. Can you talk a little bit about how having a daughter in just this example or any other connection you have to a women through natural relationships has reinforced and strengthened your position?
TO BE CONTINUED...AND NEXT WEEK RAY ARATA, FOUNDER OF INCLUSIONARY LEADERSHIP GROUP/FOUNDER OF THE BETTER MAN CONFERENCE WILL SHARE TIPS ON HOW MEN WHO WANT TO BE ALLIES TO GENDER EQUALITY CAN MOVE THROUGH THAT FEAR
Contact Ray@InclusionaryLeaders.com to learn about INCLUSIONARY LEADERSHIP training, GENDER PARTNERSHIP training, COACHING or CONSULTING for your organization.
CALL TO SPEAKERS!
Better Man Conference 2018: Call To Speakers, Panelists, and More
We invite business professionals, concerned citizens, expert practitioners and allies to share their voices for the 3rd annual Better Man Conference. We are securing dates and locations soon, but looking forward to these timelines/locations:
- BMC New York- June 2018 (Application deadline April 15)
- BMC San Francisco- October 2018 (Application deadline August 2015)
We expect 150+ people in NYC and 250+ in SF. Previous registrants were 60/40 Men/Women and included:
- Executives, Leaders, Emerging Leaders, Change Makers.
- Human Resources, Diversity Staff and Council Leaders.
- Learners and Leaders seeking workforce inclusion.,
The conference theme, STAND UP. SPEAK UP. IT’S TIME. is intended to educate, inspire and move male allies into action in support of women and target groups. Given the context of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the focus of The Better Man Conference is on galvanizing men inside organizations by providing them with the tools to support partnership and the role that healthy masculinity plays. Learn more or apply here.