The importance of engaging men in the feminist movement cannot be overstated. Their involvement is crucial in advancing the cause of gender equality.
Although I never labelled myself as a feminist before, I realise now that I have always supported gender equality. Having an ex-wife and daughter has helped me understand the importance of men being educated about women’s needs in the feminist movement if only they were willing to listen.
Supporting women goes beyond bodily autonomy and reproductive rights at home, work, or in society. As I see it, it involves acknowledging the impact of pregnancy and the risks women face in the workplace when they reveal their pregnancy. Additionally, many women experience medical issues related to their monthly menstrual cycle that some medical professionals may not take seriously or fully understand due to historical training deficits. Last I recall, a very limited amount of medical training was dedicated to the medical information being trained on women’s bodies.
Men must acknowledge that although not all men are perpetrators, 99% of rape and sexual assault cases against women involve male attackers. This highlights that even unintentional alpha male behaviour, which may be accepted in society or an organisation, threatens women. For men to become feminists, they must recognise the need to challenge societal norms that perpetuate toxic masculinity and reduce the fear that women experience. Ultimately, men must take responsibility for changing this statistic by redefining acceptable behaviour and attitudes towards women in alpha male cultures.
I have learned valuable lessons in business as One Leader with Two Genders of Experience that I hope men who aspire to be feminists can benefit from.
It’s important to review your workplace practices and ensure that you provide a safe environment where your female colleagues feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Do you ensure that women’s voices are heard equally to men’s and prevent men’s voices from overpowering women’s voices in your workplace?
During meetings, do you ensure women at the table have equal opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas as much as men are given?
As the leader of a meeting in the workplace, are you making sure to moderate the conversation in a way that allows women’s voices to be heard?
It is essential to be mindful of situations where male egos may dominate spaces intended for women, as this can result from fragility or insecurity.
Is your organisation making decisions based on the entitlement of men to specific roles and promotions without considering the contributions of women in the organisation? For example, are men given these opportunities solely because they have traditionally held these positions rather than being evaluated on merit?
Do you acknowledge the existence of alpha male behaviour in the workplace, which many women perceive as aggressive and oppressive towards their ability to speak up freely? Do you take measures to provide different forms of accommodation for women to ensure their voices are heard?
Acknowledging that not all men conform to the alpha male stereotype is essential. By implementing equitable rules, we can create a level playing field for everyone to succeed in business.
It is important to acknowledge that not all individuals conform to societal gender norms, and that includes transgender women. By implementing equitable rules, we can create a level playing field for everyone, regardless of gender identity, to succeed in business.
In conclusion, all individuals, including cisgender and transgender women and men, must actively participate in the feminist movement to achieve true gender equality. Their involvement can bring a more inclusive and diverse perspective to the cause. It's time to recognize that feminism is not just a women's issue but a human issue. So let us all work together to create a world where everyone, regardless of gender identity, is treated with equal respect and dignity.
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