Gender equality won’t be achieved without significant male engagement.
Corporate Australia remains far from reaching gender parity, so concerted action is still required to balance the scales. Given their predominance in leadership positions, men’s support is critical to achieving
In the past year, the proportion of female CEOs in ASX 200 companies went up from 5% to 7%, bringing the total number to 14. That’s important progress. But every step toward equality requires significant effort, rallied by a small base. Most parity programmes are run by women, for women. Meanwhile, executive meetings are overwhelmingly male. The issue of gender parity must become gender equal itself if we are to effect change.
Research tells us that men show less support for gender equality initiatives than women. Why are they less engaged? Some men simply are just not interested in the issue or don’t want to advance gender equality. But those men are the minority. In fact, most men are engaged or want to be. Our research brings additional data to the discussion to propose actionable recommendations to increase the overall engagement of men and dispel myths.
There’s good reason to increase female representation across the workforce. Gender parity has been proven, across geographies and sectors, to positively affect business outcomes. Organisations with greater diversity have greater retention, higher levels of employee advocacy, overall better performance and faster growth—to name just a few of the documented benefits.
And corporate actions can make a difference. When gender equality is treated as a strategic priority, with top-down support and a data-driven approach to setting aspirations and developing programmes, the makeup of the boardroom and executive teams can change. Even in male-dominated industries such as mining, in which the workforce can be about 80% male, companies that commit to diversity are finding gender parity within their reach.
SOURCE: Bain & Company. “Better together: Increasing male engagement in gender equality efforts in Australia.” Bain & Company, 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia