Great advocates for women – men

Stuart King with Claire Young at Marie Claire Success Summit
Stuart King with Claire Young at Marie Claire Success Summit

A few weeks ago I presented at the Marie Claire Success Summit. I was sharing with my partner Stuart King about the event – and mentioned that the Commissioner for Human Rights Elizabeth Broderick would be presenting and I asked him to come.

Of the 350 attendees Stuart was only one of two men in the room – the other there on the production team. In Elizabeth’s presentation she implored the audience to include the men in our lives in the conversation about diversity and balanced leadership. She thanked Stuart for attending.

Stuart could not help but hear the woman behind him comment “Oh yes look he is nodding in all the right places.” Perhaps out of context, but a patronizing remark at best.

Liz Broderick and I at the event
Liz Broderick and I at the event

Stuart is deeply interested in social justice – he worked as a police offer for 30 years and in the last part of his policing career he was accountable for the diversity and inclusion program at Victoria Police. From that he was spring boarded into a role as CEO of Diversity Australia. In the last five years he has worked tirelessly as an advocate, advisor and activist for safe workplaces – particularly in the area of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination as MD at Risk to Business.

This is a man who gives a damn. The reason he came to the Marie Claire event is he was curious to learn what would be discussed. I note he has blogged about it himself.

Liz Broderick is working tirelessly with the Male Champions of Change to shift the perceptions about women in leadership.

We all have men in our lives all of us can start by including our men, sons, brothers and fathers in the conversation.

Liz spoke of the “daughter water” campaign – CEOs who have daughters will have a significantly less gender pay gap in their organizations than those without daughters.

“According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, it often comes down to the CEO, and whether or not he (and it’s usually a he) has had the gender equality epiphany moment that

Stuart and I - A shared sense of purpose "great work places'
Stuart and I – A shared sense of purpose “great work places’

comes from having a daughter.”

As I noted in my recent post about the conversation I had with a family member on his ‘blindness to sexism’. Balanced leadership and inclusion start by including the men in our lives – invite them to events, watch TED talks – and definitely encourage support and advocacy. And just as a side note – please support the men who are taking a stand – don’t patronize or exclude men, because otherwise we are back to basics – just the shoe is on the other foot and as we know that is not what we want nor does is it produce sustainable change.

3 Responses

  1. Helen McHugh
    Reply
    7 November 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Naomi,

    We have met a couple of times now. At the iAwards in Sydney ( you had to tell me who you were, hilarious) and then at the Enterprise Ireland diversity talk (where I asked you if you remembered me and you did, Yay)..

    One comment on the poor attendance at the Marie Claire event is that there are so many events.
    But the good things is that they message is resoundingly on target, there is an issue and we need men to champion women just as much as our great female leaders.

    Big job but we just need to keep going. Cheers Helen

    • 8 November 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Helen – The Marie Claire event was sold out. It was standing room only every seat taken… only one of them by a man – because of course most of the people who read it are women and that is where the event is was promoted. So next time we need to invite our partners to come to such an event too.

  2. Izolde
    Reply
    15 November 2014 at 10:26 am

    Hi Naomi, I am always pleased to find your blog in my inbox – authentic sharing and very valuable learnings. Congratulations on your new book, can’t wait to read it! Your influence in the conversation about workplace diversity is priceless to all of us. As a newcomer to the conversation and having stepped into the world of entrepreneurism recently I can’t help but notice that women are getting very different messages to men. We are told by thought leaders to “Lean In”, to “Thrive” , to “Find Your Courage”, “Daring Greatly” where men say “Screw It, let’s Do it”, ‘David & Goliath, ‘Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits’, The Richest man in Babylon’, etc. These books are of course intended for both genders but the energy of the messages are quite different. It seems that women need to dig deep first as part of a ‘vetting’ process to equip them for business or leadership where men are just projected onto the trajectory and they figure it out as they go and that figuring out process is OK for them but somehow not for us, we have to have it all figured out. In my mind the only way can progress this important conversation is to stop asking WHY? and to start asking HOW? If we change the questions we ask ourselves, we’ll come up with better answers. In the final analysis all businesses do a risk analysis on some level of most things they do. Shouldn’t we be asking who is analysing the risks when is comes to diversity decisions in businesses, what parameters for risk are they using, how do they arrive at the choices they make? Where does the funnel start? At what point in a woman’s education or career or life stage is she considered ‘riskier’ for the business to appoint and pay accordingly than a man? I think many of the discussions in the current debate serve to label women more instead of making us visible as competent individuals who can stand next to men and other women and be considered. I applaud you for taking Stuart to the Success Summit because men are as much part of this conversation as women are. Going from one extreme to the other is never a good thing.

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