What a difference a year makes. For the past couple of years, I’ve been saying that women’s advancement is stuck and the needle isn’t moving. Well, the needle may be stuck, but women’s voices are rising. In January we witnessed record-setting crowds for the Women’s March and while the headlines aren’t always positive, women’s issues are in the forefront of the news.
Real change with a sense of urgency will never take place until men understand the realities women face in the workplace. I believe that fathers of daughters have a responsibility to be change agents.
Here are the facts:
- Women Earn Less. The gender wage gap is real, Women make on average $.79 cents to men for the same work. This has a compounding effect on families and the economy of $430,000’s over the lifetime of a woman’s career. Every CEO has the information on pay equity and pipeline demographics. And as long as women are the only one’s talking about these issues there is no reason to change. Men need to stand-up regarding pay equity and advancing women–they owe it to their working spouses and their daughters to demand equitable opportunity.
- Men (By-in-large) Run the Companies. Senior leadership in most companies (still 85% men) are not deeply committed. Most acknowledge that women’s advancement is important but yet their women’s advancement numbers are stagnant. Senior leaders need to ask three simple questions.
– What were the turnover and advancement numbers for your department last year by gender? (My guess is the answer will surprise you).
– What is your plan to advance women for the coming year?
– How will you drive this plan deep into your functional area, and how are you planning on holding middle management and men accountable?
- Connect Men’s Work Life and Person Life. Unfortunately, most men never make the connection between advocating for women at work and the impact this will have on their daughters when they enter the workforce. My generation of men wanted to raise strong, independent daughters. We supported our daughters in their academic and extracurricular activities (sports, dance, drama, debate). We ensured they went to great schools. But when they graduate and are only offered $.79 for the same job our sons are making $1.00 — we choose to do nothing. This is why men need to stand-up today. We owe it to our daughters.
It’s time for men to stand up. We don’t need another workshop for women. We need to take a hard look at what is holding women back in our companies and organizations — and we need to choose to do something about it. We need fathers of daughters to be outraged that society only values our daughters at $.79 to our sons and we need to take action. Finally, we need men to challenge gender bias and the subtle sexual harassment that happens every day in the workplace.
The next time a man makes a sexist remark or makes a snide innuendo about a woman ask yourself the question, “Would you want him talking like that about your daughter?”
This Mother’s Day Advocate for Women
This Mother’s Day, make a commitment to take action in honor of your daughter, working spouse, co-workers. I’ve created the Father of a Daughter Initiative to offer 10 simple steps men can take in the workplace to stand up for the women in their lives. Download it today. Select an action or two to do by the end of the month. Hang it in your office and give a signed copy to your mother/wife/daughter and show her you are standing up for her grand-daughters. Tweet me at @YWomen #FOD to encourage others to participate.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is a corporate gender strategist. The country’s leading expert on engaging men to advance women, Jeffery is the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company. The former Director of Diversity Strategy of The Coca-Cola Company, Jeffery has consulted with leading brands including McDonald’s, Deloitte, Publicis Groupe, GE and more. Jeffery’s latest book WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men, is the first business book written by a man on how companies can advance women to enhance the company. A highly sought-after speaker, Jeffery is a TEDx speaker and talks frequently speaks at industry and corporate events.