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Enable men to become champions for change

According to the research firm, Catalyst men have a critical role to play in diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts, including advancing gender diversity in the workplace. Creating a fairer and more inclusive work environment where everyone is valued will require the involvement and support of many people at many levels, including men.

Organizations should help men recognize that gender bias exists, motivate them to champion gender equality, and remove the barriers that prevent their support. Research has found that education through well-managed training can increase men’s sense of fair play. In addition to training, organizations can foster change through workshops, mentoring, and publicizing male advocates for women's advancement. Key examples include:

o Make gender visible. Bring men into the discussion. For many men, gender is something they see as a ‘woman’s issue’. Until men recognize that they face issues particular to their own gender, and that it is important to address them, gender equality will not be achieved.

o Create space for discussions about men’s issues at work. Men need space, both culturally and literally, to discuss issues particular to their gender. Often men will not discuss issues that are affecting them openly, such as difficulty accessing flexible work. They may even be reticent to talk about their flexible working arrangements - if they have them. Men need to feel ‘Safe to Speak Up’ for gender equality. Employers can address this by creating work cultures and programs that encourage men to openly discuss issues they face in the workplace.

o Engage men as stakeholders. Many organizations are taking great steps to improve gender equality in their workplace. However, until employers see the men in their organization as a key stakeholder group who should be engaged when creating change, gender equality will always be a one-sided journey. Engaging men as stakeholder’s means consulting with them on solutions to advance women in organizations.

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Michelle King