This January, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a series of statements that fostered articles from media worldwide – and even a viral video. His bold statements? He’s a feminist, and men shouldn’t be afraid of that word. Instead, men and boys should be educated about the importance of gender equality, as their role in achieving such equality is key. For his part, Trudeau has appointed a cabinet with an equal number of women and men (a first for Canada) and announced the first Canadian woman on the country’s currency
Emma Watson and Sheryl Sandberg have also undertaken feminist efforts that emphasize the role of men in achieving gender equality. Watson, a British actor and a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, helped to launch the “HeforShe” initiative in September of 2014. HeforShe is designed to encourage men to stand up for gender equality. Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In, launched the #LeanInTogether campaign this March. The campaign stresses that change cannot occur from the actions of women alone.
Men who aren’t world leaders, movie stars or celebrities may feel that their role in the journey toward gender equality is not always clear. But men in the office can be as influential as those on stage or on screen. Indeed, there are many ways for our male friends and colleagues to help as we strive for gender equality.
Men have a critical role to play in attaining gender equality. However, men are often an untapped resource in gender initiatives. Emphasizing strategies like these, both women and men can succeed in overcoming gender inequality in the workplace.