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What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

I’m a man, and I’m a feminist. Over the years, this word has developed a negative connotation. It’s become synonymous with man-hater. Even some women don’t like to be called feminists. As a guy, I am definitely not a man-hater or a woman-hater. I believe in gender equality, not only at home, but in the workplace. That means equal opportunities for both men and women. Before you say, “Hold on just one minute, men have had it too good for too long, it’s women’s turn.” Or, “Oh no, not another guy-bashing post about how we should feel guilty because men make more money,” I encourage you to read on. As a guy, I feel like it’s an obligation to not only support women, but also help support men support women. Here are five ways all men can take action to support gender equality in the workplace.

1. Lead by example

Spread the word about gender equality in the workplace. It doesn’t mean you have to hold rallies every Friday afternoon by the water cooler, but start talking about it! Talk about it with both men and women, and listen to both sides. You could even start a committee to ensure both men and women are being fairly represented. Not only can you be an avid supporter of women in the workplace, but you can be a supporter of men, too!  Men also want to be heard and validated.  Perhaps you could encourage men to take advantage of paternity leave where available. When you see men or women being treated unfairly, speak up about it. Other people probably are thinking the same thing, even though they don’t say anything.

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2. Ask for help

As a guy, it’s not always easy to ask for help. I have no problem asking other women for help! When we take some of the ego way from the workplace, both men and women can support one another—which is crucial for workplace gender equality. By asking for help, men show women that they too are vulnerable. The more women see men this way, the less stigmatizing it will be for women when they ask for help. Men have needs too, but they might not communicate it was well. The more men communicate well, the more women won’t be seen as the only ones who have needs.

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3. Share the workload at home

Men need to step up and volunteer to do more. It’s unacceptable that women do more household work, despite working equal hours. USA Today points out that, on average, women spend two hours and 10 minutes doing household work while men only spend one hour and 17 minutes. Too often we expect women to push for gender equality, instead of looking at reasons why they don’t have it already. More important, we fail to examine how men exacerbate the problem. So guys, learn how to cook, clean, and change a diaper.

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4. Be aware of gender stereotypes

We often use different gender-based words or phrases to describe the same behavior. For instance, a man might have a bad temper so we describe him as “bold,” “strong,” or a “know-it-all.” That same behavior exhibited by a female is often described as “bitchy,” “difficult to work with,” or “lacking patience.” Both men and women are guilty of this. We’ve been conditioned to speak this way. But it’s a huge obstacle to gender equality. By simply being aware of stereotypes in language, we can point out the behavior for what it is, instead of resorting to gender stereotypes.

5. Empathize with women

Men need to put themselves in women’s shoes. The more men understand and experience struggles that women go through, the more likely they are to stand up for equal rights in the workplace. Although men and women have varying needs, we are more alike than different. The more we all realize this, the more we can see both sides of the gender equality debate. Yes, men have a lot of work to do but, as an individual man, I too have a lot of work to do. If one man can empathize with the opposite gender, many men can. As we continue to progress as a society, my hope is that both men and women better understand one another. Because the truth is that both men and women struggle in the workplace. The more we experience and share our struggles, the more we won’t see each other as so different and the more we can inch closer to gender equality. My hope is that some day gender equality will become the definition of the workplace, rather than an ideal the workplace should have.

Featured photo credit: Multi-Ethnic Group of People Working Together via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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