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Looking at the world through the gender diversity lens

Looking at the world through the gender diversity lens

Mark.Freed / 06 Sep 2017

Last month I saw the following post on LinkedIn:

“Just declined a law firm panel event invitation – 5-person panel – all male. Please chaps – if you’re asked to speak on a panel ask where the women are! These kinds of opportunities are important for career development and can often be an example of the subtler types of career barriers women face in advancing their careers.”

The post attracted some attention, with many commenting how they felt about the issue. Many were unsupportive, some rude, and even a little threatening. I have sympathy with the stance.

Having been a male champion of diversity for almost 20 years I often, even today, find myself being the only man in a large meeting or on a panel. I am used to it now, sadly it goes with the territory. But let me tell you, it is not a comfortable experience – ‘Imposter Syndrome’ comes to mind. Perhaps if more men tried being the only man in a meeting they too would understand.

Fortunately, people are making an impact in calling out events will all-male panels. 

The argument against such action often follows along the line of “not being able to find qualified women to sit on a panel” – we know this to be untrue, just look a bit harder.   

Those calling out all-male panels are doing great work. Men need to get in on the action too. Men are valuable players in the progress towards gender equality - it benefits them too – and they should be welcomed into the fight.

In the past, I have tried in vain to get involved with and support a number of forums and groups that support women in financial services – the response more often than not, is a rather curt: “this is a for women, by women group and not open to men.”

I look forward to living in a happy and economically successful society where people are people.

Until then, I will continue to support women in their career ambitions – whatever they may be.

Part of E2W’s commitment to the Women in Finance Charter is to get more men supporting gender diversity. To any men reading this, you are welcome to join our group. Sign up here

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