How men can help to support women in the workplace and beyond: Championing Women
Today the 8th of March marks International Women’s Day 2021 and what a better day for men to choose to challenge and to champion women in the workplace and beyond. First, however, let me give a brief definition of who and what male allies are. Male allies are “members of an advantaged group committed to building relationships with women… understanding the social privilege conferred by their gender and demonstrating active efforts to address gender inequalities at work and in society (HBR 2018)”. By this definition male allies are a part of an advantaged group that are aware and actively seeking to put right gender inequalities that occur throughout the whole of society, whether in a workplace or at the comfort of one’s home. This short piece will look at how male allies can stay aware, reflect and challenge unconscious biases and simultaneously understand why it is critical to promote and champion Women everywhere.
It is a known fact and not an assumption that Women typically downplay and underestimate their professional and academic achievements and accomplishments. Whilst their Male colleges and classmates typically exaggerate and overestimate theirs. Thus, for Women highlighting the psychological phenomenon that is Imposter Syndrome. The term Imposter Syndrome means that “people are unable to internalise their accomplishments” (Psychology Today) and did you know that over 6 in 10 Women suffer from Imposter Syndrome in the UK (HR News 2019). Therefore, by championing Women and sharing their accomplishments you’re helping them raise their brand, status and most importantly their confidence. A boost of confidence does everyone a world of good so why not champion, praise and promote Women’s successes.
Furthermore, it is paramount that Women have a seat at the table but of greater importance, Women need a voice at the table. This consists of giving equal opportunity to speak, not speaking over them and ensuring that there is an inclusive environment for personal growth and development throughout the workplace and amongst the whole of society. It has to be said that tremendous gains have been made over the past decade in progressing Women’s leadership, which has been widely recognised. For example, the growing number of women elected to political office and women heads of states receiving praise for their effective handling of the pandemic. More recently, high profile glass ceilings being shattered with the election of Vice-President Kamala Harris in the USA (Antonia Kirkland 2021). We must come together, united and champion all Women and their achievements, not only on the 8th of March, but rather every single day.
By choosing to challenge this will drive positive change for all women, it will create a more inclusive and equal environment and society. By championing women, you choose to challenge.
Written by: Saum Roohani