In the complex world of commerce, one company’s loss can seem to be their rival’s gain. This has become a dominating mind-set when it comes to gender parity. Bringing about equal opportunity between the sexes is hindered by a zero-sum-game framing in which women ousting men from their positions is the new survival of the fittest.

False.

As an enlightened CEO, you know that economic and moral reasons for gender parity are instead implicit and shared.

Hostile work environments for women means the loss of talent, competitive advantage and potential innovation for the business. Toxic businesses affect employees as well; and the lack of change may eventually result in the loss of your position.

An exodus or absence of women, is a depletion of diversity and in turn profitability. Catalyst, Deloitte and EY global research proves diverse boards and teams boost the success of the bottom line, so having a culture that embraces women is not just ethically right, it reflects our new commercial reality.

There can be no excuse to look the other way, thereby facilitating the behaviour that has derailed women’s careers, and created protected areas for those in power to behave badly. And we need men on board to help us make this change.

Time to give men the real reasons to ‘man up’ for women.

  1. Gender differences aren’t sexist, they’re clever.

    By accepting the spectrum and richness that our XX and XY perspectives bring, we can realise how best to commercially leverage them across every level of the business from R&D to sales. Finally, we can fully benefit from a gender lens.

  2. Because sex buys.

    A new US$28 trillion global female consumer economy is well on its way, full of clever female graduates, disruptive female business owners, and glass ceiling-breaking female professionals. But they are currently overlooked, neglected and very hungry. Feed them.

  3. Diversity and inclusion includes everyone (yes, men too).

    Bringing men into the conversation, and making them feel welcome and included in the dialogue about their own fears, engenders openness towards what to many may seem like a politically geared policy.

  4. Gender is an all-sum game.

    Winning her over, whether she is a staff member, a stakeholder or a front-facing consumer is not a loss. It is a win for you too, and your business.

  5. Men will benefit outside of work.

    Flex work and the expansion of maternity policies were driven by women, but are accessed by everyone in the workplace. By changing the equality of opportunities and workplace policies, leaders can shift equality norms in the home too.

The path to creating a new generation of leaders and a culture of equality is incumbent on today’s leaders, by dismantling the walls around this toxic elephant’s foot. Business leaders have never been more powerful and impactful upon creating the future we want to thrive in.
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