Exclusive Webinar for members of the LEAD Network

How to Engage Men in Gender Equality

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

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

The P&G team realized that having the right processes and metrics to promote gender equality, such as targets and flexible working options, are not enough. It is critical to have the right, inclusive culture. Men need to understand the underlying challenges and what benefits gender equality can bring, and not only be aware of targets that must be met.

Several obstacles were discussed why men would not engage in gender equality.

  • Apathy — no compelling reason for becoming actively involved, not concerned 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 hearing other men’s disapproval

P&G launched two initiatives  to address the obstacles faced by men and to raise their awareness for gender equality,:

  1. MARCTM : a two half-day programme 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-hour sessions 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 if you focus not only on gender diversity (50/50) but on inclusion AND a way to answer the important question… what’s in it for men?
  2. The right first step is raising awareness of the barriers vs. focusing “only” on targets. 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… only through co-leadership can we be successful!
  4. You need to be willing to look at your company’s culture to understand what needs to be changed to create an inclusive work environment.

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

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

This webinar is companion to the 2017 LEAD Network study: Engaging Men in Gender Diversity, Perspectives from the C-Suite of Leading Retailers. For a copy of the study, contact mick.broekhof@lead-eu.net