International Women’s Day Join the discussion

International Women’s Day Join the discussion

Men, we need to be active and involved.

March 8th is International Womenโ€™s Day, in case you hadnโ€™t noticed.

There is a plethora of female voices championing for equality, celebrating successes and inspiring more work to be achieved.

In case you are yet to realise, they arenโ€™t just talking to themselves.

๐Ÿ”‡ Being silent is not the answer.

โœ”๏ธ We need to engage.

Let’s do more than simply show our support.

Let’s demonstrate that we are listening to female voices. We are recognising that we need to take action. We are taking action. We are trying to be the change.

Here are some suggestions:

๐Ÿ’ก Go beyond ‘Liking’ a post. Instead, share in the comments why you liked the post; what you took away from the post; what you agree with; or where it has challenged your thinking. Or share the post with your network โ€“ this gives the author the opportunity to reach a larger audience.

๐Ÿ’ก Share Examplesย of the work that you have been doing personally to #breakthebias. Be vulnerable. Itโ€™s not easy to retrain our biases โ€“ and we all have them. Share your experiences in order to inspire other men, and give the women in your network encouragement that we are listening, we are starting to understand, and we are trying to do better.

๐Ÿ’ก @Mention women that have inspired you, developed you and challenged you to be better. Celebrate them and thank them. You can do this publicly in a post or privately through DM.

๐Ÿ’ก Post about what your organisation is achieving towards gender equality, and what this progress means to you personally. Too often these posts only come from other genders.

As for actions to do outside ofย  social media platforms:

โžก๏ธ Ask questions, be curious, and listen.ย Every woman has a story to share. Literally, every woman.

โžก๏ธ Educate Yourselfย โ€“ listen to podcasts, ted talks, or read articles, and prompt a discussion. Google terms and issues that you donโ€™t completely understand yet.

โžก๏ธ Talk to other men about IWD, and gender inequality. Chat about what you struggle with, what equality would mean โ€“ for all genders, and what youโ€™ve observed about your own male privilege.

โžก๏ธ Contact me if you want to have a chat or would like some learning recommendations.ย I always reply, and as an executive coach, confidentiality is assured.

International Womenโ€™s Day is a day to profile women and the issues they face, but it shouldnโ€™t be a day that men aren’t involved in.

Let’s demonstrate our desire to be part of the solution.

And MOST IMPORTANTLY, our commitment to keep that desire going all year!

Late to the Party

Late to the Party

I have a friend who is notorious for arriving late to gatherings.

Frequently 2-3 hours late. And if there’s acknowledgement and an apology, it’s usually quite superficial.

This frustrates me greatly, but I know calling him out about it only sours the gathering.

Noone enjoys themselves.

Instead, I choose to be thankful that he’s there.

There are obviously reasons why he arrives when he does, and so I choose not to judge and hope that one day he will sort out these reasons. Maybe even one day understand how it feels for the host who has put in the effort.

Men are arriving late to the gender equality conversation.

Some of us are showing up with a ‘champion’ status, expecting the people who are already there to be so appreciative that they have popped by, amongst other important things in our schedule.

Some of us have awkwardly arrived, and don’t know what to say, how to interact, not really clear on whether we should be here.

Some of us feel like we have arrived in a courtroom, awaiting trial. We are deciding how we are going to plead, and preparing our defence.

Some of us are still circling the neighbourhood, checking if we have the correct address.

Some of us have declined the invitation – perhaps opting to stay home as a mark of respect to those who are attending. “It’s not about me.”

For the people who have been in the conversation for a while, these newcomers are met with mixed emotions.

For some ‘hosts’, they have been regularly extending the invitation to the men, but perhaps weren’t prepared for when and, more crucially HOW, men would show up.

For some, the arrival of others has changed the vibe of the conversation, and where so much work has been put into ensuring this has been a safe space, now it doesn’t feel as safe.

For some, there is resentment there. And some are looking for the male attendees to make a mistake so that they can unleash the frustration that has been building.

It’s an awkward place to be for everyone. Everyone is feeling uncomfortable.

The truth is that we all need to feel uncomfortable in order to learn and to develop ourselves.

We are all going to say awkward things, feel a full spectrum of emotions, and behave in ways that we may regret afterwards.

But it’s a good thing that we are here.

It’s a good thing that we are arriving, however, and whenever that is.

The more time men spend in the conversation, the more opportunities we have to listen and understand, and the better we will get at participating.

For the other genders, this may require some more patience. Some of you have been in this conversation for a long time, and so your tolerance is wearing thin. I get it.

Let’s choose to see it as a positive that we are here.

Meanwhile, I’m sorry I’ve arrived late.

Are you showing up? How did you arrive? Or how are you planning to arrive?

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

๐—”๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐——๐—˜๐—œ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€?

There is a difference between compliance training and real development.

I don’t work in compliance training, but unfortunately, many organisations mistake DEI as another compliance topic.

At the heart, many organisations want to be seen to be tackling the issue and are looking for options that can tick boxes.

Unconscious Bias Training has become a go-to option for organisations wanting more than just EEO and anti-discrimination modules, but in reality, it is not doing what you think it is doing.

Whilst Unconscious Bias is now a fairly well-known term, very few people take any meaningful steps.

Most people think ‘greater awareness’ is a suitable outcome or takeaway, without actually challenging what this awareness is or how it will inform their actions going forward.

The training ticks a box. And then people wonder why it hasn’t produced any meaningful change.

We may have crossed our arms, and committed to #breakthebias2022, for International Women’s Day 2022, but how has that been going for you?

We get kudos for showing up. We applaud commitments to champion change.

That’s the end of the story.

Next time, pay attention to the subtle use of words used by a program sponsor or a senior leader that has been through unconscious bias training.

“WE need to address this” or “WE need to do more about this.” or something similar…

Whilst sharing accountability through ‘WE’ (and getting everyone’s heads nodding) it actually also serves to negate personal responsibility.

Which means nothing changes.

Better leadership looks like:

“I am going to fix the problem by….”

“I am going to change the way… “

“I know that I’ve been getting it wrong”.

Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of thinking it is other people’s biases that we need to break.

This mindset leaves us to overlook our own prejudices.

This mindset evades the uncomfortable truth that we are contributing to the problem.

Some more than others.

Our discomfort is worth others feeling more comfortable.

Discomfort is where learning happens.

Discomfort motivates real change.

You don’t need more unconscious bias training.

We don’t need more slides or e-learning.

We need a better intervention.

#blokecoaching is an uncomfortable program.

And we make no apologies for that.

Clients get upset.

They cry. They argue.

Through the program, we help everyone to understand their privilege, the patriarchal system and their individual prejudices, and those topics are going to stir up some big feelings.

But that is part of the process. And our clients are better for it.