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The Design of Everyday Men – A New Lens for Gender Equality Progress

This research study looks at the perspective of men in order to advance gender equality in leadership. The study provides insight on the different experiences that men – and all genders – experience in today’s corporate culture. Results suggest three calls to action for business leaders to change the game on advancing gender equality – with men as active participants.

  1. Recognize that the expectations we set for success are causing gender inequality and causing certain genders or identities to be excluded from leadership. For instance, reflect both on formally established expectations in performance evaluations, and the informally reinforced expectations that are rewarded through day-to-day interactions and behaviours. “Always on, always available” corporate culture is a key barrier holding back gender equality. Men may more readily adhere to this expectation and sacrifice their outside-of-work commitments. As a result, those that become senior leaders are largely men – since women take up the slack on these outside- of-work responsibilities, thereby disadvantaging themselves.
  1. Self-reflect on your own behaviours and how you are establishing expectations for what success looks like through day-to-day actions. Here are some questions that can help this reflection:
    • How are you, as a leader, role modelling the behaviour you want to see from others?
    • How are you showing individuals that their peer group supports and embraces their actions, specifically in the everyday interactions between individuals?
    • How are you considering the individual’s interests, needs, and desires beyond their development as an employee?
    • How are you helping individuals embrace and accept their own imperfection as they develop both as employees and as people?
  1. Take action on breaking down the barriers to change in order to build a more gender-equal workplace. The resource provides five actions for business leaders and five actions for organizations. Some examples are:
    • For business leaders: start all meetings with a thoughtful personal story, check in on people who seem like they need it the least, take vacation and parental leave.
    • For organizations: build development programs around life goals – not just professional ones, define desired behaviours for success through a diversity lens.

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