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The Role Men Can Play in Fostering a Diverse Workplace

Allie Kelly

In today’s cultural landscape, men may find it difficult to know where they can help promote workplace diversity. And that’s only counting the men who are already in support of equality. For those who have yet to come around and understand that times are changing, the best way to get them involved is by explaining that they are just as likely to benefit from gender equality as females according to United Nations experts, Reuters reported.

Disprove the “zero-sum” mentality

Male support is essential to a diverse workplace, global nonprofit Catalyst reported. The problem is, some men continue to be stuck on the “zero-sum” mentality: the idea that when women advance, men will lose. This concept is simply not true. “Research continues to show that well-managed diversity yields more innovation. It’s even tied to enhanced financial performance – factors good for all employees,” said Ilene Lang, President and CEO of Catalyst. Men should disprove this myth and let go of the concern of demotion and loss of privilege. In doing this, they can effectively engage in promoting equality, Catalyst explained. A win for one person is, after all, not a loss for another.

Reject gender stereotypes

As Reuters reported, fostering a diverse workforce starts with rejecting gender stereotypes. Accepting, supporting and promoting females in predominantly male fields and roles is crucial for putting an end to discrimination existing in the labor market. Similarly, men should feel supported, confident, and secure in roles traditionally held by females such as teachers and nurses. For example, just 8 percent of nurses in the U.S. are male, according to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Without stereotypes, all individuals could pursue their desired career with confidence. Importantly, denouncing all stereotypes is essential for an inclusive workplace.

Seek female mentorship

According to Forbes contributor Karen Horting, Executive Director & CEO at the Society of Women Engineers, there is an unconscious bias that exists within everyone. When not addressed or recognized, this bias clouds reviews, compensation and promotions among women and minorities. One solution is for male employees to seek out mentors who are of female leaders or executives.

Take responsibility

In an article titled, “Men have a responsibility to women, girls and other males to end sexism,” Jackson Katz, Ph.D., known for his activism on issues of gender, race and violence, reported that most men feel unfairly punished, labeled or targeted. This often leads to anger or annoyance at existing generalizations about men. This gives them two options: Sulk about male stereotypes and feel sorry for themselves or, take responsibility. Katz explained that when men chose to fight sexism – internally and culturally – they are acknowledging that women do deserve the respect they have so long been fighting for. As a result, when men stand up and diminish myths, denounce stereotypes and take responsibility, they can effectively support and celebrate diversity in the workplace. What are you doing to foster a diverse workplace in your organization?

Allie Kelly


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