Why HR can’t achieve equality without men

A global HR head explains why industry professionals should engage men in the fight for workplace diversity

Why HR can’t achieve equality without men
A global HR head has called on other industry professionals to engage men in their workplace diversity initiatives, saying they won’t be successful without company-wide support.

“Engaging men is vital in driving equality forward and it is a topic that needs everyone involved in the conversation,” says Karina Govindji, group head of diversity and inclusion for Vodafone.

The communications giant is a vocal supporter of the HeForShe campaign which advocates for an inclusive approach to diversity which engages people of every gender and acknowledges the ways that everyone benefits from this equality.

“HeForShe has been a fantastic platform for Vodafone and we’ve really engaged our men internally to support gender equality,” says Govindji.

“We’ve also used that to engage our customers and our suppliers because we believe that we’ve got a responsibility through our supply chain and those that we work with to get this on the agenda.”

Govindji says one of the greatest challenges in engaging men in the push for diversity is that there are limited channels by which to communicate the message.

“My experience has been that there hasn’t been a platform to engage men but once you do engage them, they really want to be involved in the conversation,” she tells HRD.

“I think the challenge is not having the language or the platform to extend to them rather than them not being interested or not wanting to be engaged.”

For organisations that aren’t eager to get men involved in workplace diversity, Govindji has one important message.

“I would say any initiative to reach goals of a diverse and inclusive workforce need everyone involved in the conversation and the progress will be limited if not everyone is engaged in that conversation,” she says.

“I would be actively looking for ways to engage and have men champion this and my experience shows they are ready and waiting, they just need the hand extended.”


Related stories:
“Leaky pipeline” a major problem for Kiwi firms
Gender balance on boards is impossible

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