Why men need to be part of the D&I discussion

Stuart Paterson our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 27 November 2019
Who's responsible for D&I in the workplace?


I have previously been discouraged to be vocal on the matter of women in the workplace related topics. Receiving comment like “no you can’t come because you are not a woman” or “shall I tell you about male privilege instead?” Neither are particularly helpful and if I am part of the problem then surely with education and encouragement I can be part of the solution?

Through work I speak and meet with thousands of people including many woman. Through both personal and professional experience I have noted some patterns.

Most of the woman that I speak to just want to have their voices heard. To not be asked stupid or inappropriate questions and despite popular believe, they want to be given opportunities on merit not to meet a quota. When I am trying to attract more female candidates for a search the wording in my emails or job adverts are deliberately tailored to increase the response rate and level of engagement. Words like supportive or collaborative have been proven to yield better results. Male candidates respond better to empowering words such as growth or leadership.

During the interview stage it is important that the culture of the company is portrayed to be supportive and collaborative. We work with our clients to help them in this regard. I hear female candidates tell me that during interviews they have been asked “when are you planning on having kids” or “your husband has a good job so why don’t you just be a stay at home mum” this was enough for them to remove themselves from the processes.  We also help our clients to remove unconscious biases. More often than not people will hire in their own image. This obviously doesn’t help with diversity and inclusion. 

During interviews female candidates often self-criticise rather than over promote their achievements. They also don’t push as hard at offer stage. This causes two problems, firstly the over promoters will be more likely to get the job. Secondly, the successful female candidates often short change themselves at the entry point which doesn’t help with the gender pay gap. Even once employed these circumstances still apply. 
So what’s the solution? For me it’s quite simple, we need to talk more and have more open and honest conversations. This is the only way that we can educate ourselves and increase our understandings of one another. 

To the women reading this, speak up, believe in yourself and include us men.

To the men, let's try to talk less and listen more? 


A subject that I am a bit more qualified in, being a man. What does being a man mean?

As much as I am told I am in a privileged situation being a white man, it is not without its pressures and stresses. A masculine culture within a working environment is without a doubt a toxic one, both for men and women. There is an expectation as a man that you need to act in a certain way. There is an inbuilt need to be an alpha male and not show signs of weakness and vulnerability. This is obviously very destructive to others in the office but what’s not talked about enough is how destructive it is internally.  

You all know who I am talking about. The guy who has to be the loudest voice in the room, who feels the need to peacock round the office tooting his horn. Like the bully in the playground it is often a deflected projection of their own insecurities.  This type of behaviour can and does cause physical and psychological issues. There is really no need for it or the environment that it creates. We are all smart enough to overcome this type of behaviour and learn to be more respectful of one another. Through communication we can learn to work together collaboratively and respectively. It is okay to be vulnerable and its okay to ask for help. 


Interested in learning more about diversity & inclusion? We'd love to chat. Contact us here to start a conversation. 

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