Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. While I think there are still many reasons to mark this date on the calendar, I also think that we, women and men, should work to make it unnecessary. So let me take this opportunity to talk about men and the need to make them part of the change.
When we talk of leadership, in companies and in society, we’re far from parity. Although women make up more than 50% of the population, we’re underrepresented when it comes to decision-making power.
Some people think that this is a matter of fairness and should be corrected. Unfortunately, fairness is not the reason that would make this change, or any change, successful.
The truth is that we are all in this together. We must bring all the talent we can muster if we’re going to succeed. With increasing complexity and crisis, humanity is becoming aware that we may not survive. It’s not just that there’s an environmental crisis, but we’re also seeing that the current social structures are no longer sustainable. We, as a group, need to provide answers to problems that never existed before.
Along with these needs, women and other minorities are declaring their intention to become more relevant. That means that they want to be part of the decisions. In the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, they want a seat at the table. And slowly, but inexorably, change is happening, whether men like it or not. But we need to accelerate.
Sometimes, when we talk about these issues, many women forget about the role of men. I think they should be working along with us, shoulder to shoulder. It should be a joint effort.
The role of men
I’m talking about a profound change in how society views the roles of women and men. If we women want to share responsibilities, men must make room for us by changing their roles as well. This will only be possible if we share the benefits of the change.
We can’t forget that men now hold the majority of top management positions. Unless they work together to break the glass ceiling by creating opportunities, women’s access to these positions will be a struggle, not a journey. And there are reasons to work together beyond fairness.
A large body of research shows that having more women at the top is good for business. There is a business case for gender inclusion that goes beyond results and has to do with developing a more people-centric strategy to respond to employee expectations. Women’s leadership styles are proven to have a different impact on people and deliver better results in the current environment.
The good news is that we do not have to do without any type of talent. It is the combination of different perspectives that will make the difference. The only problem is that more men need to realize this.
Image by Becca Tapert at Unsplash