The role of men in gender empowerment

Katica Roy explains why the glass ceiling is much lower than we think, and what men can do to help

The role of men in gender empowerment

Women are well-versed on the problem of gender inequality in the workplace, but in order for real progress to be seen, men must be included in the discussion too.

“Women are only half the conversation. Men are the other half,” said Katica Roy, CEO and founder of Pipeline Equity. “Often when you go into meetings around gender equity, it is mostly women in the room. We really need men to be in the conversation.”

Roy explained that since men hold the majority of leadership positions in businesses, they are also making most of the talent decisions when it comes to hiring and promoting.

“We need to realise that the glass ceiling is much lower than we think and that the pipeline leaks very early on.” said Roy. In fact, research conducted by Pipeline has found that men are 21 per cent more likely to be promoted from individual contributor to a managerial position. Moreover, when women do reach senior leadership levels, they often encounter additional challenges based on gender bias. 

“It is important to make sure that women don’t get pushed off the glass ceiling,” Roy added. “Make sure they have equitable opportunities once they are in leadership roles and they’re not chasing additional headwinds that push them off.”

Another action which Roy recommends is for companies to sign a public pledge for diversity and inclusion to ensure that there is an equitable pipeline and equitable opportunities for both men and women.

“We need to have candid conversations about who is really in line for the C-suite positions and how do women fall out of the pipeline,” said Roy. “We need to be transparent around the strategies we can put into place to amplify women in the workplace and not push them off the glass cliff. We need to make sure they don’t pay a penalty when they become mothers,” she added.

Based on Pipeline’s study, Roy determined that almost half of all working dads would like to stay home with their children.

“We need to reinforce the issue that gender equity impacts men too, so we should be looking at how we can expand the role that men can play,” said Roy. “We tend to dance around the periphery and never get to solving the issue.”

Pipeline is an award-winning Denver, U.S-based software company that uses AI to help businesses boost their profits by closing the gender equity gap.