Creating Men As Allies In Gender Diversity Programs


It’s a proven fact that organizations have much to gain by engaging and leveraging female perspectives within their workforces, and there’s plenty of room to grow as women still comprise a minority within leadership circles.

According to DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2018, demographic data gleaned from more than 2,400 organizations around the globe, women currently inhabit less than one-third (29 percent) of all leadership roles, with the large majority being in first-level management positions. In India, 11 percent of leadership roles are currently occupied by women. 

Our global research reveals that companies that have reached an above-average level of gender diversity overall (at least 30 percent) and at the senior-level (more than 20 percent), outperform diversity laggards in key leadership and business outcomes.

While a few organizations are leading initiatives on different aspects to develop and support women leaders grow, very few organizations are rethinking their approach on enabling their Men Leaders towards this agenda, who are leading a diverse workforce.

Development doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Men have a responsibility and opportunity to empower and inspire women to reach their potential. Idea is to empower male bosses and colleagues to be allies to women.

Having worked with different organizations, we at DDI have witnessed situations where increasing gender diversity across the leadership pipeline is viewed as a “women’s issue” as opposed to a business issue? Well It’s a Business Issue.

With all the given strategy around developing women leaders, we often here that men feel excluded by women in leadership (WIL) initiatives. And hence the bigger question to ask today is are we doing enough and how we are enabling and supporting Men to be better allies to women in the workplace?

Encourage your men Leaders to;

Ø  Be a Mentor to women leaders - Nurturing their development and growth, encouraging them to take risks and build a strong personal brand

Ø  Serve as a sounding board to their women counterparts, guiding them in dealing with their personal challenges, that are often a result of cultural biases and stereotypes.  at home and work

Ø  Become aware of their own unconscious biases that impact the way they perceive the ability of women to lead.

Ø  Question their sense of entitlement because they are men and not because they are deserving of it.

Ø  Call out and support bold and courageous behaviors of women that challenge stereotypes.

At DDI, we’re encouraged to see the growing number of male-dominated industries and organizations that are working to address gender inequality and change their culture, starting with helping men become better allies to women.