Men: It’s Time to Step Up as Allies and Advocates for Equality

An Invitation to Other Fathers to Be Advocates For Equality at Work

As we approach Father’s Day, I’m encouraging more men to step up as allies and advocates for gender equality. I’ve written frequently about fatherhood and being the father of a daughter, which I’m proud to be. Research shows that having a daughter is a game-changer for men, and it often leads to greater identification with women’s issues, as we learn to see the world through our daughters’ eyes.

Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes is the point. It’s why I’m reaching out to all men — whether a father or not — to invite them to become advocates for women and others who experience life differently from them.

I often ask my clients how we can hope to have honest and candid conversations about race if we’re unable to talk about gender in the workplace? With so many of our current systems changing, evolving and even failing us at times, the moment is ripe to have deep, meaningful conversations about equality in all the dimensions that make us uniquely human, including race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions and religion.

We need fathers (and all men) to step up like never before. Actions speak louder than words! Whether it is ensuring that a woman’s voice is heard in a meeting and that office housework is shared equally by all team members, participating in conversations about #PrideMonth or learning to be a more empathetic, people-centered leader, I am calling on more men to accept the challenge and be a vital part of the sea change that is taking place.

Fatherhood as a Game-changer

I’ve been upfront about my own evolution as a father. I’m a Boomer, and like many men of my generation, I wanted to raise a strong daughter and ensure the same doors and opportunities that were open to my son were also open to her. I supported her endeavors in sports, the arts, dance and academics. I encouraged her to excel at college and seek a meaningful career. But what does our role become when our capable and bright daughters enter the workforce and are offered 83 cents for every dollar our sons make to do the same job? What about the systemic obstacles in the workplace that hinder our daughters’ potential or the microaggressions that chip away at her sense of self-worth or don’t allow her to fully thrive and contribute to organizational goals? It’s time for men to realize we have important roles as advocates for gender equity in the workplace.

In her book “Dads for Daughters,” University of San Francisco law professor Michelle Travis looks at how we can transform workplaces for all employees. “Invoking your status as the dad of a daughter gives you ‘standing’ to speak and advocate for gender equality in ways that allow others to listen and engage with an open mind,” she said.

And frankly, being a man gives you similar standing to talk to other men about advocating for women in ways they can hear. This is what makes male allyship and advocacy so powerful.

This Father’s Day, Give Your Daughter A Gift

As we celebrate Father’s Day, I invite other fathers to join me in taking my Father of Daughter pledge. I created this initiative as an easy-to-do, opt-in program. You commit to doing a minimum of one thing (hopefully more!) to advance women. Many of these actions address workplace policies that impact women, people of color and other underrepresented groups. What better gift can a father give his daughter than a shot at a brighter future?

Of course, you don’t need to be a father to care about workplace equality or to participate in the initiative. Since each of us approaches this work in a unique and personal way, I’ve created multiple Actions for Advocates pledge forms. The important thing is to get involved! Select the approach that works best for you:

Want to do more? Here are additional (and free) tools and ideas.

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