“Women have been talking already for years about the issues that we face at work…We really need men to join us. To understand that this isn’t a female issue, this is an all-of-us issue.”
Gender inequality is a huge and systemic issue, and unfortunately, many of the measures put in place to address it often result in men feeling blamed and shamed. At our recent event, Joanne Lipman, author of That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know and What Women Need to Tell Them, argued that we need to have a conversation about gender inequality where everyone is involved, and thus aware of the strategies they can implement to combat it.
While researching That’s What She Said, Lipman traveled across Canada and the United States to find out why the gender gap persists in the workplace. She found that systemic inequalities, fueled by unconscious bias, persist in even the most progressive companies. The lack of women in leadership positions in companies doesn’t necessarily stem from a lack of women in the pipeline, as often cited, but is instead a result of persistent undervaluing and silencing of women’s contributions.
At the event (and within her book), Lipman outlined key strategies that individuals can do to help combat instances of gender inequality in their own workplace. Here are four examples:
Interrupt the Interrupter.
Individuals in leadership positions need to make a rule that interruptions will not be tolerated by anyone and enforce it.
Coworkers and allies can support the ideas and contributions of women in the workplace by echoing their ideas, and consistently give them credit.
Individuals can make a pact to talk about each other’s accomplishments, projects, and skills; especially to upper management.
Don’t decide for her.
No one should ever assume that a woman will decline a promotion or a new project because of family commitments or life events. The key is to ask and let women decide for themselves.