On the MindJournal blog, you'll usually find us talking about the importance of nurturing male friendships, opening up to other dads, heck, even bonding with your dog. Which makes sense, this being a website for, well, men. But that doesn't mean us fellas can ignore the crucial role we also play in celebrating and supporting women – at work, at home and everywhere in between.
This is a cause MindJournal can get behind, for obvious reasons, but if you're wondering why you should care, the answer to that is simple. Whatever your relationship with your gender and masculinity, you and those around you deserve respect.
Whether it's the sister who bigged you up, the mum who stood her ground or the friend that took on a challenge and crushed it, those awesome women don't always get the recognition they should. But that's something you can change. By the choices you make, by your actions and by your words.
So, with that in mind, here are a few simple ways men can become better allies to the women around them. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but it's a good place to start.
Listen And Learn
At the most basic level, you can make yourself aware of women’s experiences. Talk to those closest to you about what goes on at work, in bars and on the street (trust us, they will have had plenty of stories). You can also pick up books on gender, watch Ted Talks, the list goes on. Once you know what the problem is, you can make adjustments to your own behaviour, if necessary, in order to help to lessen it.
Balance The Books
It shouldn’t need to be said, but we’ll say it anyway – everyone stands to benefit from an equal workplace. The next time a spot opens up, use the opportunity to push for your team to better reflect how the world actually looks. Until then, ensure the women you currently work alongside get credit for their achievements, pass up on all-male speaking panels and get involved in mentoring schemes.
Make Yourself An AllyWe get it, it can feel hard to step in or speak up when you see someone being treated unfairly or when guys around you shrug off the things they say as “banter”. But men calling each other out sends a powerful message that sexist language, negative stereotypes and biased behaviour has no place. Doing so is good for us, good for them, good for the world.
Make Sure Everyone Is HeardEven in the most well-intentioned room, women generally get less airtime and are interrupted more. (We’re looking at you, Kanye.) It’s important to make sure everyone has the opportunity to speak and is heard, so offer leadership roles in group projects to all, not just the loudest; if a peer is interrupted, say you’d like to hear her finish; and be aware of stolen ideas in meetings.
Share The Load
As attitudes surrounding gender and masculinity continue to evolve and change, it makes sense that the division of labour between men and women should also shift. Mansplained? Do your fair share, mate. Whether it's at work or at home, look for opportunities to tag team chores and problems you might have previously left to someone else. Trust us, there’s no relationship that won’t benefit as a result.