I’ve said it many times; it’s a man’s world at work and that makes it especially difficult for women to thrive.
But that doesn’t mean most men don’t want women to thrive, or that women who want to change the status quo are anti men.
Frankly, I love men- I married one, and then physically produced another, and they’re gorgeous! I just don’t like the patriarchal structure both genders find ourselves living with. In my experience most men are aware of the issues faced by women, but they don’t quite know what to do about it.
Here are three suggestions to share with male colleagues:
- All the evidence shows that men interrupt women quite a lot, i.e. more than they interrupt other men. Try to be aware of this and listen a bit more. Yes, we women have a different style of communication and you may think we’re going ’round the houses’ while you just want us to say what we mean quickly, but…please try to live with it. We’re different to you.
- Which brings me on to the second point: try and rid yourself of the idea that being different to you (men) means us (women) not being as good as men. That’s hard because you’ve been subject to many of the same influences as we women have. Male behaviour is always the benchmark as in “women are risk averse” subtext compared to men. We could try that one as “men take too many risky decisions” subtext compared to women. But you won’t usually hear it phrased that way because most standards have been set by men, and you are the benchmark. Once you start to notice those distinctions you’ll find them everywhere. Be mindful of it.
- It is still a fact that women take on most of the caring responsibilities for children and or elderly relatives. Of course, you men do it too, but statistically it’s likely to be the women at your place of work juggling career/job and family responsibilities. Never make jokes about ‘leaving early’, and take care to ensure meetings you’re responsible for don’t over run. Not in a big showy ‘aren’t I nice’ kind of way but in a ‘this is just a normal occurrence’ kind of way. And if you have kids/elderly relatives, do your share openly, too. It’s a fact (unfortunately) that when men start taking advantage of flexible working, it increases its acceptability in general.
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Posted on April 29th, 2015 by Jane