Why and how to thank 3 men who speak out for women

by | Jul 10, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments

Women Get Lower Salary Offers When They Won’t Say What They’re MakingBloomberg, June 27, 2017

Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of HarassmentThe New York Times, June 30, 2017

It’s Not Just Mike Pence. Americans Are Wary of Being Alone With the Opposite SexThe New York Times, July 1, 2017

How Can the U.S. Get More Women Into the Workforce? Ask CanadaThe Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2017

White House Gender Pay Gap More Than Triples Under TrumpThe Washington Post, July 5, 2017

The articles are a stark reminder that women still receive inequitable treatment compared to men, primarily around pay, opportunities and advancement.

Over the years, the pay gap has narrowed to 20% but progress has slowed since 2001. According to the American Association of University Women in its 2017 Report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the United States labor market is now set to achieve pay equity in 2152. You don’t have to be a math whiz to know that’s 135 years from now.

What can women like me and others do in our lifetimes both to bridge the gender pay gap and achieve more equitable treatment in other areas?

We can speak up. Negotiate better for ourselves. Apply for higher-paying jobs. Get involved in interest groups inside and outside of work. Mentor young women and men. Support our daughters, nieces and other young women. Vote for candidates at all levels of government who support gender equality.

We also can flex our economic buying power muscles. That includes refusing to do business with individuals and organizations that treat women (and probably other groups too) as second-class citizens.

And also importantly, we can thank the men who are doing their part to close the gap.

Whether you regard these men as foot soldiers, heroes or show boaters, they play an important role in this movement.

From a brain science perspective, those of us who believe in gender pay equity should continue to welcome men’s participation, and look for even more ways to leverage them. Why?

Supportive men are able to do the following:

  • Serve as role models for other men, especially other CEOs and C-suite members.
  • Show skeptics of science and powerful women that women are not destroying organizations, capitalism or the economy.
  • Engage with other men to help them recognize that working with women will not cause men to lose all of their status.

Three men whose work I admire and respect in the gender equality push are salesforce.com CEO and author Marc Benioff, Wharton professor and best-selling author Adam Grant, and consultant and author Jeffrey Tobias Halter.

Consider some of their accomplishments on behalf of women:

The activist CEO: Marc Benioff, salesforce.com

As reported in Fortune, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: We’re Erasing Our Gender Pay Gap—Again, the salesforce.com CEO has twice directed the company to spend about $3 million to eliminate the gender pay gap. The first time was in 2015. They did it again early in 2017 after a series of 13 acquisitions that brought 7,000 more employees into salesforce.com.

Even better, Marc has committed to continuing the practice of continuing to pay equitably. He’s also directed his due diligence team to check on gender pay equity issues during the acquisition process.

His actions are part of a broader company initiative called Women Surge started in 2013. This includes getting more women to participate in company meetings and conferences, including speaking.  The company also sponsors FemmeForce, a women’s group that does mentoring, nonprofit work and more.

The professor and author: Dr. Adam M. Grant

Adam, best-selling author of Give and Take and Originals and co-author of Option B with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, is also the youngest tenured professor at Wharton. Adam and Sheryl have been writing periodic provocative and useful essays about women at work for the New York Times since December 2014.

As Adam, an organizational psychologist, related the story at his 2017 WorkHuman keynote, Sheryl challenged him about his research results shortly after they met through her late husband. She wondered if he was drilling down into his prolific and ground-breaking research on organizational issues to analyze any significant differences in women’s responses.

On the plane ride back from the San Francisco Bay Area to Philadelphia, he started to relook at his data and found some interesting differences. For instance as he explained at the WorkHuman conference women statistically have more creative ideas, but often aren’t able to express them. They’re actually more likely to be silenced. Also, women who are givers are usually unnoticed, unrecognized, unrewarded.

The consultant and author: Jeffrey Tobias Halter

In his 2015 book, Why Women: The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men explains the strategic business case for involving more women in the workplace, especially at senior levels. He also describes how to implement a women’s strategy inside an organization, and describes the benefits the organization, women and other employees can reap from doing so.

As the founder of the consulting firm YWomen, Jeffrey has impeccable credentials for helping men (and any women who are doubters) understand and unleash the power of women in organizations.

Jeffrey spent most of his career at The Coca-Cola Company, starting in sales, and working his way up to executive positions, and finishing up his career there as the Director of Diversity Business Development. In that role, he had an epiphany about women in leadership, especially how he could help engage men to advance women.

Jeffrey dedicated his book to his wife and children, as well as “to fathers of daughters who realize the incredible responsibility they have for supporting the advancement of women in the workplace and the in the world.”

Thank you Marc, Adam and Jeffrey for all you do. I hope you’re inspiring others to join you on this long journey.

And if you, dear readers, know of other men who are speaking out for women and helping us achieve gender equity, please share their names and stories here.


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