Stop Focusing on Fixing Women

Stop Focusing on Fixing Women

When considering your organisation’s 2023 plans, perhaps ANOTHER Women in Leadership program is not the answer.

The solution to gender diversity problems is not to ‘fix women’ but rather to fix the flawed criteria and crooked systems that continue to impede many womenโ€™s access to power.

I find it incredible how organisations can run Women in Leadership programs for years and years, and have generation after generation of women leaders raise the same systemic issues (or in some instances worsening issues).

Yet, these organisations continue to think that the solution is another ‘Women in Leadership’ program.

If you want to consider a better way forward, perhaps consider who else needs to be developed.

Bloke Coaching is a program that helps everyone to understand male privilege, patriarchy and prejudice, and work proactively to address the barriers encountered by women and other genders which perpetuate inequalities.

Maybe itโ€™s time to shake things up.

Mansplaining Flowchart by Kim Goodwin

Lesson 3 โ€“ What to do mid-mansplain

Always when explaining anything, look out for cues from the other person/people.

๐Ÿ‘‰ High frequency (polite) nodding

๐Ÿ‘‰ Noone is writing anything down; perhaps fiddling with their pen

๐Ÿ‘‰ No further comments or questions; conversation has become a monologue

๐Ÿ‘‰ Uncomfortable silence after you have finished speaking

๐Ÿ‘‰ Pursed lips and ‘biting

๐Ÿ‘‰ You are asking yourself questions and answering them

๐Ÿ‘‰ someone has attempted to interject but you have continued to talk over the top of them

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others avoid direct eye contact with you

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others have begun to look at each other or stare at their notebooks or intensely at your slides.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others encourage the topic to be changed or attempt a redirect.

If one or more of the above are present, perhaps itโ€™s time to pause and double-check if other people need you to continue.

Perhaps try one of the following:

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, do you need me to go into this further?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, how comfortable are you already with what I’m going into?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, who would like me to explain this?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, who else has something to add?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, do you need this level of detail from me?”

We can all unconsciously (or accidentally) become a mansplainer.

However it’s when we are mid-mansplain, and we choose to ignore the signals other people are sending us and continue our course of action, that we are wholly deserving of the labelling.

We can be better than that.

๐Ÿ‘‡Use the comments to share other signs that would-be-mansplainers should look out for.

How to NOT to Mansplain – In 3 Easy Lessons

How to NOT to Mansplain – In 3 Easy Lessons

Lesson 1 โ€“ You Donโ€™t know as much as you think you do

There is a tendency that the less we know about a topic, the more we overestimate our own knowledge or competence with that topic.

Thereโ€™s a name for it – the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Itโ€™s a thing. Now you know. So donโ€™t be that person.

Remaining silent and listening to others is a perfectly ok thing to do.

 

Lesson 2 โ€“ Ask yourself, are you Mansplaining?

Print the below flowchart. (Flowchart Credit: Kim Goodman)

Paste it at the back of your notebook or pin it next to your monitor.

Refer to it in order to test assumptions you may be making.

Extension: Check in throughout the conversation about some of those assumptions. Eg. Perhaps you have been asked to explain one thing but check in again before you start explaining more than that particular thing.

It’s not too difficult. You can do it.

Mansplaining Flowchart by Kim Goodwin

Lesson 3 โ€“ What to do mid-mansplain

Always when explaining anything, look out for cues from the other person/people.

๐Ÿ‘‰ High frequency (polite) nodding

๐Ÿ‘‰ Noone is writing anything down; perhaps fiddling with their pen

๐Ÿ‘‰ No further comments or questions; conversation has become a monologue

๐Ÿ‘‰ Uncomfortable silence after you have finished speaking

๐Ÿ‘‰ Pursed lips and ‘biting

๐Ÿ‘‰ You are asking yourself questions and answering them

๐Ÿ‘‰ someone has attempted to interject but you have continued to talk over the top of them

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others avoid direct eye contact with you

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others have begun to look at each other or stare at their notebooks or intensely at your slides.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Others encourage the topic to be changed or attempt a redirect.

If one or more of the above are present, perhaps itโ€™s time to pause and double-check if other people need you to continue.

Perhaps try one of the following:

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, do you need me to go into this further?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, how comfortable are you already with what I’m going into?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, who would like me to explain this?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, who else has something to add?”

๐Ÿ”‰ “Just checking, do you need this level of detail from me?”

We can all unconsciously (or accidentally) become a mansplainer.

However it’s when we are mid-mansplain, and we choose to ignore the signals other people are sending us and continue our course of action, that we are wholly deserving of the labelling.

We can be better than that.

๐Ÿ‘‡Use the comments to share other signs that would-be-mansplainers should look out for.

Do You Wipe The Seat?

Do You Wipe The Seat?

Speaking on behalf of most men, accidently peeing on a toilet seat happens often.

When this happens, you are faced with a decision – to clean it up or to move on and pretend it wasn’t you.

Hopefully you choose the former.

But evidence suggests that many of us choose the latter.

I would presume that when using a public toilet as opposed to one in your home, the chances increase that you will move on and pretend it wasn’t you. (I’m sure there’s a research paper in that).

Again, I point to evidence. Evidence that I’ve seen in public bathrooms.

Now what do you do when you see pee on the seat when you arrive?

Do you clean it or do your thing and leave it?

Those who make the latter choice may convince themselves that it wasn’t them so they have no responsibility to clean it up.

They count themselves lucky that it wasn’t a number 2.

Perhaps unconsciously, they thank their cis-male privilege that they don’t have to sit down to pee.

Our fellow (cis-female) humans do not have this privilege.

๐—ช๐—ต๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฎ๐—บ ๐—œ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€?

Well, what do you do when you seen inequality within the system? Do you wipe the seat, or leave it for others to do it?

Any by ‘others’ I mean it will usually be a woman that has to do it, or perhaps a cleaner (let’s call them the DEI team).

You may not need the seat wiped in order for you to be ‘successful’ with what you are trying to do.

You probably notice ‘the pee’ but it doesn’t inconvenience you enough to do anything about it.

It may not have been you that put ‘the pee’ there in the first place.

But to walk past it and do nothing, only perpetuates the obstacles encountered by others, who don’t share your privilege.

It is much easier for us to do nothing, but that will only ever help people like us to ‘succeed’.

We have all left pee on the seat. Maybe it was ours. Someone else’s. A combination.

It is not someone else’s job to clean this up. And we shouldn’t only wipe the seat when it will serve us.

The reality is noone is going to call you a ‘champion of change’ for wiping the seat, but it’s the things that you do when no one else is looking that determines your level of commitment to making the system fairer for everyone.

Now, I’ve heard enough horror stories from female bathrooms to know that women can contribute to this problem as well (particularly in public bathrooms).

Speaking to the women, perhaps you have successful ‘squatted over’ the system. Well done you, but that doesn’t help the women that aren’t like you, or other genders.

Women who have succeeded in the system also have a responsibility to ‘wipe the seat’ for others, ensuring the system is fair for everyone, not just people like them.

Take a moment and look down.

Look down at the systems and processes that you’ve successfully worked through to get where you are.

There is plenty of pee to clean up.

No excuses. Wipe the seat.

“H-e-y-G-u-y-s” “Hey Everyone!”

“H-e-y-G-u-y-s” “Hey Everyone!”

I’ve been working on changing my go-to of referring to a group of people as “guys”.

It has NOT been easy.

There are, of course, plenty of peopleโ€”including many people who aren’t men โ€”who have no problem being addressed as “guys”, and have come to think that word has become entirely gender-neutral and don’t see a reason to change.

So what prompted me to change?

First, I noticed when and how I referred to groups of people as “guys”.

– a group of only men โžก๏ธ “guys”, even sometimes “fellas”.

– a group of a majority of men โžก๏ธ “guys”

– a group of about 25% men โžก๏ธ “guys”

– a group with only 1 man or less than 10% men โžก๏ธ still “guys” but I’m only now starting to notice that it maybe it’s not the best word.

– a group of only women โžก๏ธ I’ve still referred occasionally to them as “guys” but I’m very conscious of the word coming out of my mouth. NB. I’ve never felt comfortable using the word “ladies”, even with a group of all-women.

What I noticed about the above is that even when there is a majority of non-men, this still doesn’t stop me. It’s only when there are no men or few men, that it becomes an unusual word to use.

Aren’t I therefore unknowingly confirming that groups or men or a majority of men is (or should be) the norm and that I’m only prompted to be inclusive to non-men when they far outnumber the men?

That’s not good. And it’s not helping to correct a system that favours men, it’s perpetuating it.

Side note, I was once a part of an email distribution list that included EAs, PAs and admin assistants. The emails all started with “Hi Ladies”. I wasn’t the only man on this list. It felt uncomfortable, but I never spoke up about it.

So – like everything – it’s been hard to rewire my brain. It’s the same rewiring that I’ve done with people’s correct pronouns.

It’s not easy, but it is important.

My discomfort is worth someone else’s comfort.

I’m trying and I’m still not getting it right all the time.

I’m also positive that none of my workshop groups has noticed. But that’s the whole point, we only notice when someone refers to us incorrectly.

Male privilege is not thinking twice about being referred to as a group of “guys”. But we would notice if (when) we are part of “ladies”.

Post below your thoughts and if you have been making the change.

 

Do you see gender inequality?

Do you see gender inequality?

A lot of men donโ€™t seem to โ€˜getโ€™ gender inequality

โ€ฆyet.

We struggle to see what so many non-men can see so regularly and so plainly.

Firstly, because there is male privilege, we probably donโ€™t see the inequality as easily as those without the privilege.

But hereโ€™s the thing – even when itโ€™s pointed out to us, a lot of men refuse to engage or do anything about it.

There are psychological forces at play.

Abraham Maslow in ‘Toward a Psychology of Beingโ€™ describes this perfectly:

โ€œEvery human being has both sets of forces within (them).ย 

One set clings to safety and defensiveness out of fear, tending to regress backward, hanging on to the past, afraid to growโ€ฆ afraid to take chances, and afraid to jeopardise what (they) already (have)…

The other set of forces impels (them) forward toward wholeness of Self and uniqueness of Self, toward full functioning of all (their) capacities, toward confidence in the face of the external world at the same time that (they) can accept (their) deepest, real, unconscious Self.โ€

Acknowledging the inequality that exists between the genders, and accepting that all men continue to benefit from male privilege, inevitably forces men to confront their fears โ€“

Perhaps I donโ€™t deserve to be where I am.

Perhaps I’m not as good at this as I think I am.

Maybe I will lose what I have.

These are very difficult barriers to overcome, and so a lot of men will protect themselves against this perceived ‘threatโ€™ with a fight, flight or freeze response.

And that ‘threat’ response can be triggered by even the most benign stimulus โ€“ like an Australian of the Year who doesn’t smile for a photo.

 

Blokecoaching is a program we have designed for senior male executives to understand male privilege, patriarchy and prejudices, and continue progress towards achieving gender equality within organisations.

Working as a cohort as well as 1on1 with a certified organisational coach, helps men to address the realities of the patriarchal system, tackle the unconscious forces within us that compel us to protect our male privilege, and provide encouragement to come to terms with who we really are and find courage to move forward.

Itโ€™s a confronting program. Losing privilege is hard.

Itโ€™s an emotional journey. And we will support men through all phases of that emotional journey from denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

If your organisationโ€™s gender inclusion strategy seems to be plateauing or if your organisation is struggling to make progress towards gender equality, perhaps itโ€™s time to invest in developing the men.