Does “Diversity” Apply To Men?

Should men get involved in diversity work?

Is diversity for everyone? Does it apply to men? Or is it something men should keep out of? 

Before we answer that question, we should probably answer a different one: what is diversity?

If you’ve ever been to the cereal aisle at an American grocery store, I don’t have to tell you: diversity literally means “the condition of being different or varied.”

That sounds like it includes men, right?

Now, let’s take the idea of diversity and put it in an organizational context. What assumptions do you make about who diversity refers to?

Diversity

Diversity at Work

Think diversity, think minority. This assumption arises from the idea of “diverse groups” within organizations. Essentially, “diverse groups” are defined in relation to majority groups.

So how did we arrive at this narrower idea of diversity?

Systemic biases are partly to blame. We all have them—they’re perfectly natural shortcuts in the brain—but they tend to benefit some while impeding the progress of others. This is why minority groups are so often told to “go along to get along”.

It’s not that these groups don’t want to be a part of the team. Rather, they want to participate more fully. This is difficult when core aspects of their identity, like their sexual orientation or their natural demeanor, are undervalued or even taboo in the workplace, which can lead them to hide who they are.

This is ruinous for individuals and businesses. Ignoring the breadth of diversity is tantamount to ignoring a competitive advantage—trusted research consistently finds that well-managed diverse and inclusive workplaces make for better business.

Make sure that your company is doing everything it can to improve diversity and make everyone feel welcome, with our Unconscious Bias Training.

Are Men Diverse?

Think about it this way: do extraterrestrial life forms think we’re the aliens? Of course they do. Because it all depends on context.

I’m based in the United States. Here, heterosexual white men are often in the majority.

Being in the majority can make others seem more diverse, relatively speaking. As a result, heterosexual white men are often perceived (and perceive themselves) as less diverse.

So where does that leave them?

Disengaged from diversity work, in the majority of cases. If you’re a man and you’ve ever felt like advocating for gender equity was reserved for women, join the club (yes, even if you thought you were being respectful to women by doing so).

But guess what? Heterosexual white men also have a gender, race, and sexual orientation (gasp). Because they’re in the majority, however, these qualities often go unexamined, including by heterosexual white men.

What Can Men Do About It?

Start with some self-examination. What questions do you have about diversity, inclusion, and men?

In the MARC Community (and in your workplace), you’ll find plenty of tools:

  • Masculinity? There’s a lesson plan for that.
  • Want to hone your perspective-taking skills? Bring MARC Teams to your organization
  • Wondering about how men specifically benefit from this work? Here are 10 cool perks you can expect from greater personal investment.

Put your principles into practice with actions like these:

  • Notice the assumptions you make about men and women (and ask yourself whether you’re really drawing the right conclusions).
  • Ask a trusted male coworker whether he thinks women at your company get a fair shake (“Have you heard how often she gets interrupted in meetings? Next time it happens, I’ll say something—and I need you to back me up.”).
  • Bring another man to a women’s group meeting and check in with each other afterward (“How did that go for you? I was a little nervous at first, but everyone was so nice.”).

But what about our central question: are men diverse?

For now, I’ll answer a more important question: should men feel they’re able to join the conversation about diversity without checking their own identities at the door?

Yes.

For the record, no one really wants them to—heterosexual white men are one-of-a-kind humans with their own thoughts and emotions. In fact, showing up as a man is critical to forming better teams.

Why? Men tend to listen to other men. That’s why role modeling inclusive behavior, like championing diverse voices and taking paternity leave, is so important.

More than that, men’s involvement makes diversity efforts more successful. Take it from these four guys who joined Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that weren’t “for them,” ranging from ERGS for women to LGBT. One interviewee explained it this way: “I’m able to say, ‘This is going to be the reaction from guys in the field.’ We can then change the way we tackle something and get men involved.”

To that end, I’ll leave you with a quote that I hope will frame your thinking around this topic (and maybe even give you a talking point to use in conversations with other men):

“[Diversity] is the application of our collective intelligence—our uniqueness coming together. To put it in the terms of a military leader: Diversity is a force multiplier.”—Lieutenant General Jay Silveria, US Air Force

3Plus offers specialist services in Executive Search and Diversity Recruitment. Contact 3Plus NOW to learn more.

Originally posted in MARC

3Plus, 3Plus online e-Gazine for professional women, Diversity and Inclusion, Sexism, Unconscious bias
Jarad Cline
Jarad Cline
Email |
Jared Cline is the Community Manager of MARC (Men Advocating Real Change), a community for men committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace.

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
Why all women need a strong LinkedIn profile
Free Download

Data on women on LinkedIn has always been hard to get and analyse, but some new information sheds light on how women use the platform differently to their male colleagues and what those differences mean. You will find out why you need a strong LinkedIn profile.

It has always been difficult to identify women on LinkedIn because it’s not possible to do a search based on gender. Any efforts to track women on LinkedIn specifically, involve complex Boolean strings involving pronouns or searching via women’s clubs, universities and networks. So any analysis has always been more anecdotal around perceptions and personal experience, rather than data based. However research from 2017  using LinkedIn member profile data for members in the United States over the past 12 months. Published on the LinkedIn blog it supports pretty much what we already know about women on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn  is the main professional data base used globally by hiring managers and recruiters, yet women continue to engage less than their male colleagues, putting themselves at a distinct professional disadvantage. Now we have some facts and figures as well as tips and tricks to persuade  you to up your game. All women have to have a strong LinkedIn profile. No ifs and buts.

 

How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters
Free Download

In this power coaching podcast, we’re going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple times a week by active job seekers and passive candidates.

How can I get noticed by head hunters and recruiters and connect with them?

In this short power coaching podcast Dorothy Dalton shares some tips and tricks to make sure that you are always on the radar of the recruitment and search specialists who can be most helpful to you. With extensive experience in executive search and corporate HR Dorothy has placed, coached and trained thousands of men and women to career success. As a career coach she has a deep understanding of the job search market and what job seekers need to do to position themselves to they are easily found.

As CEO of 3Plus she also has deep experience of the challenges women face in the workplace. Sadly because women tend not to create career strategies they can be vulnerable when it comes to dealing with change. Regular transitions become career crises. In this short session you will learn some simple tips and tricks to make sure you are on the radar of key recruitment specialists in your sector, geography or function.  It’s not rocket science.

 

 

 

 

One of the most puzzling things about working in executive search is that people and I say this reluctantly particularly women fail to plan ahead. You’ve heard me say before that only 5% of women have a career strategy. This means that they are not prepared for any emergencies until they become a crisis.

 

Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.

 

When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. die..no thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.