Time to Enlist Men as Sponsors
Doctor Shawn Andrews says if we are to improve the position of women in the workforce and in society, we have to enlist the support of men in senior roles. In this podcast she says we need men to be intentional about their actions. “They need to be active in supporting women, maybe by being a mentor or sponsor.” Sponsoring is even more important but there is a difference. “Mentoring helps you in your current role, but a sponsor helps you to get to your next role.” Andrews says it is critically important for men to sponsor women in the workplace and in leadership roles and ambitions.
Another piece of advice Andrews has for men who want to support women towards gender parity, is simply to listen. “Listen to women, disregard what you think of their ‘voice’.”
Dr. Shawn Andrews believes it is time for a rethink about how we value women in society. This advice is particularly relevant for men. “Think about your own family how would you feel if your wife got passed over for a promotion or got a pat on the rear end by one of your male colleagues.” She thinks that we need to value women for their strengths. “We need different perspectives. Men need to value the way women problem solve.” The downside is that if they don’t, they may miss opportunities .
Top Tips For Women from Dr. Shawn Andrews
- Hands Up! Put your hand up at meetings and gatherings. It is critical. If you ask a question in a class men just chime in and talk over each other. Women will wait their turn in mixed gender meetings and hold back. I see women holding back in mixed classes and meetings. However when you get women together, there’s no holding back at all. It is to do with how we are socialised. Often times women are told to be supportive, to play nice. Because of these reinforced messages women do that. We need to speak up about what we care about at work.
- Caregiving- Have the talk. Have an honest dialogue with your boss about work life balance needs. Women still have the lion’s share of the care giving even among millennials. The more parity we have at home, the more parity we have in the workplace. We can’t be 100 percent successful at everything. Breadwinner versus caregiver duties you trade off. So have an honest dialogue about these issues with your employer and also your spouse or partner.
- Get Networking. Men are more used to networking. Women think it feels a little smarmy. Women have bigger networks but men can be better at leveraging them. So leverage those contacts you have. Ask them how you can help them and how they can help you. Be more active with your networks and leverage them better. Leverage those contacts you have.
Dr. Shawn Andrew’s book is
“The Power of Perception: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and the Gender Divide” (2018 Morgan James Publishing).
Amazon link to the book.
You can find out more about Andrews, her book and social media as well as access to free resources (articles, blogs, webcasts, radio and podcast interviews on her website at https://www.drshawnandrews.com/