“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, It’s not”. Dr Seuss
How do we get more men to be receptive and partner in the advocacy for gender leadership? We have heard so many concerned stakeholders ask this question. In today’s article, Rick Zednik, Director of Pangea Connections, shared with us his insights on how this can be done. In our previous article on ‘Beyond Allyship’, one of our speakers, Sandra Ondraschek-Norris (VP, Global MARC Learning) talked about the importance of having allies from the dominant group (which in this case are men because they hold positions of leadership globally) as a way to foster equity, acknowledging that men play a vital role in improving gender equality.
In order to get more of the over 3 billion men around the world to promote gender equality, Rick came up with a brilliant categorization of men based on their receptiveness to gender equality and also gave tips on how to approach them and get them more involved. The categories are:
- The Opponents: These types of men view feminism as an oncoming flood and they warn others against the risk of drowning. For protection, they seek refuge in places that are out of public view. To get them to be active in gender equality matters, you need to encourage them to get more information on this topic via reading books or watching reports related to the issue. Or you can be more proactive by getting the materials for them.
- The Skeptics: The men who fall under this category are okay with the status quo. They are tolerant to varying views and can be persuaded to take an opinion but they do not like being rushed or pushed. Because of their sensitive nature, you may need to approach them in a discreet way. A one-on-one conversation can make them start to have a change of heart.
- The Uncommitted: Men in this category are open minded. Even though they may not have decided to make a commitment, they can decide to at any moment. If you find yourself with men in this category, get them to participate passively. Do things like getting them to like posts on social media or to be a part of a gender advancement program/presentation but not needing to actively participate, just listening and observing.
- The Supporters: These men are willing and ready to invest in a course. They probably already are living life void of traditional gender roles. If you know such men, then all you should do is get them actively engaged or get them to do some volunteer activities. You could also get them to be speakers at a women’s event, be a member of a committee that promotes gender equality or comment on social media posts about DEI by tagging them.
- The Champions: These are men who are not just convinced but are also trying to convince others. Even though this category of men are champions, the work isn’t complete. To keep them as champions, they need to be continuously involved in advancing gender equality. You can get them to speak at DEI events, champion courses for women in their organizations, invite their male friends to be part of programs promoting women, etc.
Nonetheless, regardless of the category, every man needs courage to be a part of promoting gender equality. Change can be hard and, according to Michael Kaufman, “men are afraid of feminism because it challenges forms of men’s power and privilege”. To achieve the desired change, we must work towards it daily through active efforts, commitment and patience.
This is just an extract of Rick’s interesting speech. To watch his full presentation from the 2021 edition of the Rise and Lead Summit, visit our YouTube channel and subscribe to enjoy more discussions from Rise and Lead 2021 Summit. Remember to turn on your notification bell so you don’t miss out on any of our uploads. Thank you!