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We Can't Do It On Our Own!

At a recent #GenderEquality event hosted by WILD - Women in Leadership Deliver, Emma Burdett & Scott Armstrong of Arabian Business, it was great to see several men speaking supportively about the topic - enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)5. Much has been written about how the pandemic has been disastrous for many women, with reports of the #GenderGap now predicted to take 135+ years to close.

But 2030 - the deadline for achieving all 17 #SDGs - is only 8 years away, and if we are to have any hope of meeting this timeline, engaging men is going to be critical for the empowerment of women, but it comes with its challenges.

Research shows a strong correlation between the degree to which people experience bias, compared to how personally committed they are to diversity. For example; about 80% of women of colour actively support racial diversity, compared to about 50% of white men. Additionally, whereas women of colour actively support gender equality, white men are also far less likely to. Crucially, lack of commitment is linked to lack of engagement. Only 20% of women and 33% of men report that men in their organisations get involved with initiatives to improve gender diversity.

Worryingly, there also seems to be a bit of a backlash amongst men: 15% believe that their gender will now make it more difficult to progress in their careers, despite being far better represented in the workplace than women. Organisations can persuade men to rethink this view by linking business success to #Diversity. During this recent Gender Equality event, one of the speakers - Christopher Seymour - backed this up by stating that in his large organisation, successful teams were always the more diverse teams.

But hope is at hand. The #HeForShe is a movement for men who want equality for women - championing parity and equality in society to drive lasting and meaningful change.

Additionally, the MenEngage Alliance is an international community working in 84 countries, with men and boys at all levels to dismantle patriarchy, promote gender equality and social justice, and encourage conversations around what it means to be a man. Helping to shift mindsets, challenge power systems and build a world where all people are equal and free from discrimination.

As Edgar Ramirez - a successful Venezuelan actor said: “Feminism is nothing but equality. And actually, feminism benefits men because it liberates us and it releases us from many stigmas imposed on us by the macho culture”

So if we’re going to achieve #SDG5 by 2030, the world needs to act as one: women and men together for a healthy future. Because when women thrive, society thrives.

But we can’t do it without the men.

How do you believe we get men engaged in the debate?


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