‘We can’t just keep focusing on women alone’

Men have nothing to lose and everything to gain from creating workplaces that are more inclusive for women

‘We can’t just keep focusing on women alone’

Australian men are less supportive of their organisation taking action to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, yet they benefit just as much as women from their organisation doing so, according to research by the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA).

“We found that inclusion initiatives actually boost male employees’ job satisfaction, success and security as much as, and sometimes even more than, female employees,” said DCA’s CEO Lisa Annese.

Indeed, as International Women’s Day approaches, the DCA is calling on all organisations to step up their inclusion programs by encouraging men to help make gender equality a reality.

“It’s time we dispensed with the idea that gender inclusion initiatives only exist to benefit women at the expense of men,” said Annese.

“Our Inclusion@Work Index clearly found that everyone benefits from inclusion. This means men have nothing to lose and everything to gain from creating workplaces that are more inclusive and equitable for women.

“Clearly, more needs to be done to engage Australian men in the diversity and inclusion change process.”

“While it might be a somewhat controversial view, if we want to see a gender equal world we need to recognise that we can’t just keep focusing on women alone – we also need to engage men and enable them to see that gender equality is not a zero-sum game.

Annese added that as designers of the workplace system, men are part of the problem of gender inequity, and so it follows that they are also a crucial part of the solution.

DCA urges organisations to use the DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index findings to encourage men to support gender equality initiatives.

They also encourage organization to reach out to the men you know and share the good news that gender inclusion and equality is a win-win, for women and for men.

Moreover, Suncorp’s chief people experience officer Amanda Revis said it was important to have initiatives focused on building an inclusive culture to support everyone, both women and men alike.

“We focus on building an inclusive environment to support our diverse workforce and leverage the diversity of thought, backgrounds, and experiences that brings. This creates innovation, a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs and improved business performance,” said Revis.

“The Inclusion@Work Index findings support what we have known for some time, that gender equality benefits men and women. We’ve introduced gender-inclusive policies and procedures to ensure all genders are included (e.g. flexible work, parental/carer leave, pay, promotion and development).”

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