Maybe Men Should Start Speaking Up Too. Here Are 3 Ways Men Can Stand Up for Equality.

Last week we shared a post on Facebook that got many of our followers fired up. Basically, a group of male PR executives participating in an all-male panel at a PR Week Hall of Femme event said that if women feel like they’re not being heard in the corporate world, they should just “speak up more loudly.” This real gem of advice didn’t sit well with us, and it certainly didn’t sit well with you, either.

This isn’t just a matter of women speaking up or doing it more loudly. As Deborah Gillis, president and chief executive of Catalyst, which works for women’s advancement in business, recently said:

The fact that women are outnumbered in every room puts them in a position where they’re often coming up against gender-based stereotypes.

Changing the gender balance in rooms everywhere happens when men join in by speaking up and taking action.

So where are the men in this fight?

Here are 3 ways man can step up and stand for equality when they are invited to speak on panels or be part of conferences with poor gender balance:

  1. Say no and tell the organizers why. Follow the lead of this week’s Avengers of the Week and simply refuse to be a part of the problem.
  2. Give up your seat on the panel to a qualified woman in attendance when it’s obvious that women are not equally represented as Andrew Grill describes in his piece about #panelhacking. Invite a woman from the audience to crash the panel!
  3. Publicly demonstrate your displeasure about the imbalance, as Ron Fournier pledged to do. Take the GenderAvenger pledge and shout it from your social media rooftops.

We all have work to do. We need men Avengers to stand beside women Avengers and speak up as equal partners in this fight.