How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

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Woodchopper
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:05 am

bagpuss wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:47 am
lpm wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:44 pm
No. Stop. This thread is heading in completely the wrong direction. Turn around and go back.

When there's the stench of sewage in the Victorian streets, the answer isn't to go round encouraging individual action. "Don't empty your chamber pot out the window on market days". The answer is institutional change and pressuring the powerful to build a massive f.cking sewer to sort the sh.t once and for all.

Same as with climate change: the status quo powers love it when all the talk is about turning one's central heating down a degree and recycling the bottles. Anything that fails to challenge the structure is very welcome to them. We all fell for that one for years, let's not do it again.

The task of forcing institutional change can't be done by amateurs. Workplace inequality needs heavyweight professionals to build the necessary infrastructure. Getting men to volunteer to take minutes? Come on. Face the true size of the mountain and fight the proper fight.

Trade Unions were once the force that moved mountains in the workplace. They were sometimes notoriously sexist though. But that's the scale of the force that needs to be brought to bear. United pressure that challenges the very top of the organisation every single day.
There's room for both, in fact both are essential. As BoaF said, a lot of the day to day crap really are things that individuals can make a difference in. And as EPD said, often starting with the small stuff leads to bigger things.

Of course we need the top down too. It is hugely noticeable in my company how things are improving for everyone, not least women, under our current and relatively new CEO (a man, the female CEO we had before this one was a classic example of a woman getting to the top and doing the square root of f.ck all for all other women in the organisation). We now have a much higher proportion of women in senior and middling positions than in any company I've previously worked for, and many of them are the ones driving company strategy. We're still depressingly white dominated but I'm starting to see more non-white faces doing the presenting on all-company video calls so that's beginning to change too. The speed of change we've seen could never have been achieved without being driven from the top. But the day to day crap, that can definitely be changed by individuals just deciding to do things a bit differently.

BoaF's point about cigarette ends and bins is a good one too and I've seen similar myself with rubbish and litter bins in the park/on the beach. One person behaving better can pull others with them, especially people who want to be good and decent people but don't really bother thinking about stuff like this so would never do it themselves without an example in front of them.
Yes, I agree. Institutional change matters and the personal is political as well. I've been an active trade unionist for many years and am happy to discuss that as well.

Would people like a separate thread on what they can do to help achieve institutional change? I started this one with an emphasis upon what an individual reading the thread could start doing immediately. Unless someone here is actually one of the senior management institutional change is likely to be lengthy and more complicated. So to me it seems to deserve its own thread.

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lpm
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by lpm » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:23 am

No. No no no no no.

What individuals reading the thread should start doing immediately is combining to apply pressure. The comparison to littering is a dud and this isn't the unstructured realm of walking home at night. This is the highly managed arena of managed organisations where managers act to manage change - and where employees have power to force change against the status quo.

Degrading a thread into petty individual actions is destructive to the cause, good though it can make some people feel. Just like spending 10 years nagging each other to reuse Tesco carrier bags was destructive to the climate change cause. Fight against the temptation to think painting your local little niche a nicer shade of greenwash is a valid response - it's not.
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by JQH » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:41 am

I take your point about collective action but that doesn't preclude the individual actions previously discussed, surely?
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by Boustrophedon » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:50 am

lpm wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:23 am
No. No no no no no.

What individuals reading the thread should start doing immediately is combining to apply pressure. The comparison to littering is a dud and this isn't the unstructured realm of walking home at night. This is the highly managed arena of managed organisations where managers act to manage change - and where employees have power to force change against the status quo.

Degrading a thread into petty individual actions is destructive to the cause, good though it can make some people feel. Just like spending 10 years nagging each other to reuse Tesco carrier bags was destructive to the climate change cause. Fight against the temptation to think painting your local little niche a nicer shade of greenwash is a valid response - it's not.
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by bagpuss » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:14 am

lpm wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:23 am
No. No no no no no.

What individuals reading the thread should start doing immediately is combining to apply pressure. The comparison to littering is a dud and this isn't the unstructured realm of walking home at night. This is the highly managed arena of managed organisations where managers act to manage change - and where employees have power to force change against the status quo.

Degrading a thread into petty individual actions is destructive to the cause, good though it can make some people feel. Just like spending 10 years nagging each other to reuse Tesco carrier bags was destructive to the climate change cause. Fight against the temptation to think painting your local little niche a nicer shade of greenwash is a valid response - it's not.
But that argument assumes two things. Firstly that people taking individual action detracts from them tackling the bigger issue - which I agree is partially true, although only partially. Secondly it assumes something slightly different - that if people don't take individual action then they will instead put that effort into tackling the bigger issues, which I don't think is true at all for a large number of people. There are a lot of people who will simply never engage in anything that will force a bigger change - whether because of a lack of confidence or belief that they can make a difference, a lack of time or desire or will or whatever - so if those people are willing and able to make smaller changes, why the hell not encourage them to do that?

Making small personal changes does highlight issues, does bring things to other people's attention, does help to change other people's behaviour. It doesn't fix the fundamental issues but it can make some things better for some people some of the time while simultaneously bringing the issue to the fore and getting more people more involved.

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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by lpm » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:35 am

... and as you yourself gave as an example, the minor coating of greenwash simply peels away when there's a local change in the manager. There's no structural support to it.

Your point that there's only a limited number of people who will fight is a good one - but it means the fight has to be concentrated against the strategic objective. We don't have the numbers to go chasing off after little temporary changes that diffuse the pressure we're applying. Fewer things done better. Pay, promotions, recruitment, and the diversity task force led by the very top of the organisation.
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Rich Scopie
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by Rich Scopie » Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:12 pm

Stephanie wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:48 pm
Rich Scopie wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:27 pm
bagpuss wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:59 pm
If you're recruiting new employees, make an extra conscious effort to try to avoid gender (and race and anything else) bias. If your organisation has strict rules about assessing/scoring candidates and so on then you're probably already doing this but many companies do not.
These days I work for a company that provides software for recruiters; agencies, or HR departments. A growing number of our clients are asking us for features to allow them to rate candidates "blind". I.e. initially they don't see the candidate's name, sex, address; anything that isn't directly job related - qualifications, experience etc. In some cases, they want company names redacted, so there's no bias due to working for the "right" company, and no details on schools or universities attended.

So all they get is "Person ABC, with these 'O' levels / GCSEs, these 'A' levels, this degree, this experience using these skills, and for hobbies is interested in m.st.rbation, cruelty to animals and golf".

It's a big step in the right direction.

Cheers,

Rich.
I'd heard that blind recruitment didn't always work in terms of gender - this article is about tech, but is worth a read https://www.vox.com/2019/2/20/18232762/ ... york-times
Thanks for that - an interesting read. :-)
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by tom p » Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:40 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:23 am
No. No no no no no.

What individuals reading the thread should start doing immediately is combining to apply pressure.
Uh huh.
So should I pop over to the USA to pester dyqik's employers, to Italy to pester shpalman's? Maybe I could fly to the merry land of Oz to picket some penguin research facility with squeak?
We don't work together, so we can't band together.

A different thread sharing advice on how to achieve institutional change would be a very good idea.
You talk a good game when it comes to shouting down changing interpersonal behaviour, but how about suggestions when it comes to the big picture?
Please to share any advice on how to take actual actions which could have a positive effect.

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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by lpm » Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:12 pm

As an example, today 31 March is Gender Pay Gap reporting day in the UK. Compulsory for anyone with >250 employees

- If your organisation has reported, raise questions/challenges at the next team meeting with your bosses
- Request the results for your organisation if not reported internally
- If your organisation has taken advantage of the govt's six month delay due to Covid, ask why they consider it a red tape chore instead of an important piece of business intelligence that benefits the organisation. All organisations serious about equality are sticking to 31 March because they need to track annual progression across the years
- Exploit every possible anonymous channel in your organisation to protest at the terrible Gender Pay Gap
- Do basic education of others of why attracting and retaining diverse talent with fair pay is a benefit to the organisation
- Ask what's the pay gap plan for the coming year. Ask how the women in leadership program is going, when the mentoring scheme will be launched, if the company will join lean in networks
- Ask which external specialists are being hired to support the organisation's gender equity

Ideally individuals will band together with friends/colleagues/strangers within the organisation - so that a whole bunch of people are asking these questions and raising these challenges. Only an idiot would think the way to combine is with random people on an obscure web forum, we all need to combine with other fighters in our own organisations. Who are the usual suspects who consistently challenge the company on gender inequality and how can you work with them?
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:18 am

My employer has become a White Ribbon Supporter Organisation. The White Ribbon org is a charity fighting against male violence against women. Organisations that get accredited have to commit to things such as
You will agree to take 7 actions that will raise awareness and show that you are working to end violence.

The actions include, encouraging all staff to make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. Recruiting at least one volunteer male White Ribbon Ambassador (or woman Champion if there are no male staff who can undertake this role). Hold at least one awareness and fund raising event or activity a year. Ensuring that women who are experiencing violence know where to get help
In terms of individual volunteers, I'm not yet sure what the charity does outside of the organisational context, but something like this sounds like a good way to go.
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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by Squeak » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:30 am

I'm involved in a bunch of activist efforts to make my institution and broader science community more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. We are always ridiculously pleased when we realise that we have more than one or two senior, straight, white men involved in any of our meetings because usually these things are seen as something for the marginalised people to solve, so a whole lot of the labour falls to the people who already get mashed by the system.

The actions various of us have described in this thread strike me as akin to the consciousness-raising activities that women's libbers did in the 60s and 70s and I think that's important in and of itself. So long as the marginalisation is invisible to members of the dominant group, they're not likely to engage as allies. But if this thread encourages a bunch of blokes to actively look at how their workplace marginalises some people, then we're potentially creating new allies who can share the activism load. It also means that pronouncements from on-high might actually get engagement because they're not dismissed as HR claptrap.

That said, lpm is also right that personal actions aren't enough on their own. So, here's one more. Your company, institution, professional organisation, union (or however else you collaborate with colleagues) probably has some kind of IDE working group that would love to have you volunteer. And if there's nothing like that, you could always send an email around asking if anyone else wants to help you set one up.

Your group doesn't have to solve all the world's problems and can start small. For example, one of my groups identified that travel is a major barrier to participation in our activities (cost, health, caring responsibilities, accessibility) and that video conferencing for in-person meetings is usually too sh.t to be worth joining remotely. So, we persuaded a parent to shell out for a few microphone/speaker units and agreed that all in-person meetings will now include properly organised videoconferencing facilities.

Another group is writing a best practice guide for making fieldwork safe for everyone, which we will put on my organisation's website and advertise on FB and Twitter and at conferences. We ourselves don't do fieldwork but we talk to lots of people who do and who might choose to copy our guide or to adapt it to their circumstance. We in turn will be cribbing from similar efforts from other groups so that we're not reinventing the wheel. It'll take us a few meetings and a bit of homework to draft and refine the document, so it's not a huge amount of effort.

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Re: How men can help make workplaces more gender inclusive

Post by discovolante » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:35 am

Awesome work, Squeak :)
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