Women need more male allies to promote gender equality and female leadership at work, especially in male-dominated sectors.
This was the share of leadership roles in FTSE 100 companies held by women in 2020:
CEOs - 8%
Exec directors - 14.2%
Non-exec directors - 42.2%
Board members - 36.2%
The focus shouldn’t just be on what women need to do to achieve success. Men need to step up and take responsibility for fixing this too.
The #HeForShe campaign brings leaders together to work towards gender equality. With a growing community of over three million people, the campaign sparks over two billion social media conversations a year, resulting in three and a half million gender equality commitments.
How males can champion females in the fight for gender equality
Consider the language you speak
A lot of business communication can come off as very masculine. Learning the differences between masculine and feminine communication styles can lead to much more effective communications for all parties.
Listen, learn and educate
Many male leaders simply don’t realise the challenges women still face at work, or the advantages men still have. If they took the time to listen and learn these challenges it would have a massive impact on gender equality. Reach out to female colleagues, hold focus groups and encourage women to speak out. Once you understand the problems, you can start to solve them.
Celebrate and share success
It has a powerful impact when men recognise and celebrate the achievements of women. Give them credit for their work and make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed. This will provide role models for other women in the organisation.
Share opportunities to support growth
Women often miss out on career opportunities, so share responsibilities where possible and give them access to new opportunities. Introduce them to influential people in the field who can mentor them. Because women are raised differently, they may be more reticent about putting themselves forward, so encourage them to apply for promotion and leadership development programmes.
Challenge inequality and gender bias
No industry is free from sexist stereotypes. Preconceptions of women’s roles can lead to talented women being overlooked for opportunities. Men still often have more of a voice and are more respected in business situations. As a man, if you notice that’s happening,the worst thing you can do is stay silent. Speak up and challenge inequality–you’re more likely to be listened to.