What We (Men) Can Do

1 December 2021

Today marks the 9th birthday of our eldest daughter. It’s a beautiful day full of memories and, to me, a reminder of the awesome potential of women everywhere.

Today is also nearly a week after I (may have) stepped over the line in the chat window of a virtual event. What I’m about to describe is really for men and the men in your life. The event in question was about equality, more specifically feminism and about halfway through the event, this comment appeared in the chat window:

‘I wonder what the men here think they can do to improve equality…’

Here is my response: 

There is plenty we can do, including: 

1. When drafting job ads, use textio.com to help reduce or change the balance of gender-biased language

2. Have women you trust outside of your organisation review job ads to catch any gender bias

3. Post job ads in places where women actually look, and no, a LinkedIn or Seek ‘set and forget’ job posting isn’t good enough

4. Make sure everyone in the company (women AND men) have a champion

5. Create a parental leave scheme that has a generous paid leave component, remains deliberately silent on the primary carer and is explicit about how the company will provide support if/when a child is lost

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think these points were revolutionary, and it’s what we do at my company as somewhat of a reflex, thanks to what I’ve learned from people like my wife, Dr Briony Scott, Rhonda Brighton Hall and Melissa Rosenthal to name a few.  

In the calls I received after the event, it was clear that implementing only one of these ideas would change the game at most people’s workplaces. 

So to the men and the men in your life, here’s what you can do:

1. Bring together a small collection of women who are happy to review new job ads for your hiring roles. Pay them for their time and as part of this effort, ask them to share each ad in places where women talk about and look for new opportunities. Also, consider using textio.com.

2. Identify and empower people to become champions for women (and men) at work. A big part of this role as a champion is confidence-building.

3. Ask about your workplace parental leave policy. If the reply is, Oh, you mean the maternity leave policy? Or I don’t think we have one; Shake your head (physically or metaphorically) and shoot me an email. I’ll show you how we created our parental leave policy, which is best in class for a small and growing company.

And before I get off my soapbox, I’d like to share a podcast episode I recorded with the most incredible Bianca Hartge-Hazelman on her podcast called EqualizHER. The episode is called The Girl Dad, and I hope you enjoy it.

Be good or be good at it,

Cheers, Phil   

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