Advancing Gender Equity as We Return to the Office

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As we plan the return to the workplace and think about what work might look like after the shutdown, leaders must remember gender equality and representation. The lockdown offers a unique opportunity to supercharge progress on gender equity by deliberately reworking policies and practices to usher in a new chapter in the history of work — one that is designed for men and women, particularly as family commitments come into play.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article on 3 ways to achieve these goals. You can read the full article by David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson here.

As more men leverage their new found experiences balancing teleworking and domestic partnerships during these times of quarantine, there is a great opportunity for men-as-allies to advocate for gender equality in their own workplaces. Because men vastly outnumber women in senior leadership roles in most organizations, male leaders should demonstrate vision, courage, and genuine collaboration with women to rework policies, practices, and systems in order to create a new normal in our post-pandemic workplace. Here is a summary of some ways men can help advocate gender equality as we reshape our workplaces and habits:

  • Advocate for an increase in flexible work arrangements 
    During this shutdown, more leaders are witnessing the benefits of more employees working remotely. A recent survey of chief information officers found that 71% agreed that a new appreciation for remote work arrangements will be a significant factor in their future plans for office space and technology staffing to support the new demand. Another study found that 27% of dads would like more flexible work arrangements, and most working fathers agree that teleworking will provide women — especially mothers — more professional opportunities.

  • Keep working parents in mind with paid sick leave & childcare benefits
    Advocate for paid sick leave for all employees — and use it yourself! Harvard Business Review's research indicates that when men modeled this behavior, it encouraged other men and women to feel comfortable using their maximum paid leave. There are also many ways to advocate for affordable childcare options such as voicers, on-site care facilities, off-site or co-op arrangements, and more. Genuine gender balance for parents can more easily be achieved with accessible childcare for everyone. 
  • Don't try to hide your family life and responsibilities from coworkers
    When leaving work for children or family responsibilities, leave loudly. Don’t try to hide it. Too often men try to sneak out the back door or silently sign offline hoping no one will notice their absence. Normalize leaving work to meet your family obligations so that no one — including women you work with — is penalized or perceived in a negative light when they do the same.

Click here to read the full article by David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson for Harvard Business Review.

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