Gender equity is not just a women’s social issue. Gender equity is not “female equity” — it applies to all genders, female, male or otherwise. Men experience the struggles of gender equity in their own ways and resolving these struggles is important in order to achieve a final state of gender equality for all.
Toxic masculinity is a byproduct of gender inequity.
Toxic masculinity is a problem that impacts both men and women. Toxic masculinity says men must subscribe to a certain definition of manhood in order to be worthy as a man and women must also adopt certain traits associated with that definition of manhood in order to succeed in business. Both of these ideas are dangerous and false, promote gender inequity and prevent women and men from leading the lives they both desire.
The alarming rates of suicide among men and boys are connected to narrow definitions of gender. Suicide among males today is nearly four times higher than among females and male suicides represent 79 percent of all instances of suicide inside the United States.
Even in not so extreme cases, men are finding themselves unhappy in traditional gender roles, though the pressures they feel to stay in these roles are likely purely societal and not necessary in reality. Here’s why.
Gender Roles are Changing
Toxic masculinity tells men they must be the breadwinners and the bosses, if they’re truly “manly men.” Meanwhile, 48 percent of working fathers would like to stay at home with their children.
While many men are struggling to take this route in their careers, women are also taking on the role of breadwinner. 40 percent of all American households with children under 18 are breadwinning mother households.
While there’s still room to go for those breadwinning mothers to have more opportunity and upward mobility, the data shows women are more than capable of taking over breadwinning responsibilities. There’s no reason why families should be hindered by traditional roles, if a father does want to stay home with his children and a mother wants to provide the household’s income.
Promoting Gender Equity as a Men’s Issue in the Workplace
There are certain steps you can take to combat gender inequity, reduce toxic masculinity in the workplace and engage men in gender equity efforts, steps that will benefit everyone on your team, regardless of gender.
1. Offer Workplace Flexibility
Studies show more time at the office does not necessarily equal better results. Men and women both realize, however, that sometimes management uses facetime as a measure of an employee’s value, rather than actual work results.
Traditionally, men have been able to offer their workplaces more face time than women and it’s often falsely believed that men enjoy being at the office more than women, but both genders can benefit greatly from an environment that measures results over face time and provides greater workplace flexibility.
In fact, men who have better access to flexible work are more productive, report higher work performance, cope better with higher workloads, have fewer absences and lower levels of personal stress.
2. Normalize Unconventional Benefits
Certain workplace benefits are normal for women, not so much for men. While we generally think of men having the upper hand in workplace compensation, there’s one area where women traditionally receive better treatment — parental leave following a new child.
Normalizing parental leave for men not only gives fathers the opportunity to spend more time with their families, something we already know they want, but it helps increase gender equity for women as well. Often, women are subjected to most, if not all, of the childcare and household work, due to traditional ideas of gender roles. This is exacerbated when a women receives parental leave, but the father does not. Parental leave takes burdens off of the mother and helps ensure women are able to return to the workplace after having children, as they have a support system to ease the entire family into their new way of life.
3. Remove Unconscious Bias
Even teams with the best intentions can experience unconscious gender bias. After all, we’ve been taught traditional gender roles from childhood, so it’s often second-nature for us to assume things like, if a parent is going to stay home with a child, it would be the mother, not the father. Take action to remove unconscious bias in the workplace, so that all your team members can live the lives they desire, regardless of gender. Doing so can help you retain talent and boost your brand.
How can you start removing unconscious biases immediately?
- Gather data on your company’s treatment of employees, including pay
- Analyze the data objectively and fairly
- Make decisions based on data
Pipeline Can Help
To ensure your company promotes gender equity for both genders, start with the three steps above and begin eliminating unconscious bias from your company decisions, resulting in a better team, higher productivity and higher profitability.
Pipeline can help, using your company’s data to assess your current state, where you need to go and how and when you can get there. See how it all works, with a free demo.