Monday, May 10, 2010

WiL the men speak up?

For the last two weeks, Women in Leadership (WiL) - any industry, not-for-profit and for profit - has been a hot topic in my world.

It's an emotional topic; it's right up there with race, colour and creed. Based on one's personal experience, women's issues are - or are not - a continued concern in this century. The dividing lines seem to have little to do with age, education or location.

WiL issues range from women not being attracted to certain careers or industries, to firm glass ceilings, to discrimination (having to work harder for the same/less pay etc.), to exclusion from decision making.

Questions have been fascinating:
* Do we have enough female role models?
* Does one only encounter barriers when one becomes a parent?
* Are younger women not seeing barriers because no one sees them as a threat?
* Why do so many men perceive a WiL issue (even if they can't agree on the root causes)?
* Why is it easier to accept there's an issue if a man stands up first to validate it?

It's the last one that fascinates me.

Men - I'm asking you to speak out and tell the women you know if you see that we still have a way to go on WiL issues. By all means validate the concerns! :-) Acknowledge the irony of the fact that, as a man, you're standing up to verify that women need to stand up... but nothing can change in isolation and we need the entire community to join the conversation.

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