How to Engage Men in Gender Equality

A P&G Case Study

The LEAD Network Education Committee hosted their first webinar as part of their 2018 program to build a D&I Best Practices library. During the webinar on 18 June, Moni Buzasy (Head of Talent Europe) and Paco Medina (Senior HR Manager) at Procter & Gamble, talked about the P&G MARCTM program they launched in partnership with Catalyst within their organization to engage senior leadership and men on gender equality.

One of the key lessons of the webinar was that today, we still live in a male-dominated world. Most initiatives in the past to drive changes were led by minority groups (think of gender diversity led by women, but also LGBT groups for example). This is why it’s incredibly powerful to have a majority group, like men, to support your cause. It’s not about men fixing women, but about creating a culture where both men and women can succeed.

Within P&G, the team realized that having the right systems in place to promote gender equality such as targets and flexible working options are not enough. It is critical to have the right, inclusive culture. Men therefore need to understand what the underlying challenges are and which benefits gender equality could bring, and not only be aware of targets that have to be met.

During the webinar, several obstacles were discussed on why men would not engage in gender equality.

  • Apathy (no compelling reason for becoming actively involved, unconcerned about issues of gender equality or unaware of what they might gain from championing gender equality)
  • Ignorance (genuine lack of awareness of gender bias)
  • Fear (of losing status and privilege, of making mistakes or of other men’s disapproval)

In order to address the obstacles men face and to raise awareness for gender equality, P&G launched two initiatives:

  1. MARCTM : a 2-half day program for senior leadership to develop critical inclusive leadership strategies, sharpen awareness of inequalities, unconscious biases and privilege, and hone skills to make lasting impact in terms of inclusion
  2. MARCTM dialogues: 4 hours session targeted at middle management and people managers facilitated by P&G MARCTM alumni

Lessons that P&G have learned so far:

  1. Men can be engaged in gender equality of you focus not only on gender diversity (50/50) but on inclusion AND let us find a way to answer the question… what’s in gender equality for men?
  2. Raising awareness on the barriers vs. focusing “only” on targets is the right first step. Concepts such as majority / minority, unconscious biases or privileges are extremely powerful to raise awareness in men
  3. Men and women need to work together on gender equality… it’s a co-leadership!
  4. You need to be willing to look at your company culture to understand what needs to be changed to create an inclusive work environment

To sum up the most important lesson from the P&G team: it’s a journey, not an easy one… but rewarding!

How to Engage Men in Gender Equality

A P&G Case Study

To watch the full recording of the webinar, click here.