You can call them gender allies and advocates and even champions, however, the truth is that gender issues require men at the heart of it all if gender diversity and equality has to succeed. Moreover, research is proving time and again that the active involvement of men is essential to gender issues in the workplace and the workforce at large, all over the world.
Women leaders and managers are over-mentored and under-sponsored
It is being known as "active sponsoring" instead of mentoring or helping because the problem is that a large number of women leaders and managers are being "over-mentored and under-sponsored". While both male and female leaders can be sponsored, the truth is that men do make up the majority of leadership and hence their role as a sponsor can make a huge difference in the workplace. This also applies to women in the boardroom because, "If you’re going to have all men in the room, you're not going to get the diversity of thought and experiences to leapfrog in a rapidly evolving business environment," said Ashish D. Pal, Managing Director for Singapore & Malaysia at MSD. Also, Sanjeev Chatrath, Managing Director of Global Banking & Financial Markets at IBM said that male sponsors can have a bigger impact than female ones because "Men control the system and hence, men have to lean in, they have to fix that system. Otherwise, it's a very small group of people on the periphery who are discussing in the echo chambers that something has got to change."
No more can men remain bystanders
The power of sponsorship can also bring in new perspectives since it helps bring out the quieter voices who usually stay silent during meetings and various discussions, especially those employees at the entry-level. However, the timing of sponsorship also matters since many women quit their jobs at the peak of their career, or at pre-leadership. Therefore, in order to curb the "leaky pipeline" men at work should take up such roles to promote women in leadership positions. "My primary role is to understand what career paths, career routes they would like to ideally take. Then to actively remove the barriers that exist for them to the degree that I possibly can," Michael Jenkins, CEO at Human Capital Leadership Institute. Moreover, the active participation of men helps them to gauge the current gender divide and issues in the professional realm; no more can men remain bystanders because gender issues affect everyone regardless of what gender they identify with.
Image credit: Next Generation Recruitment