Yes, this is the reality. Men learn from women’s stories and experiences, and after that they discover that the world is not equal.
For years, I’ve been pointing out to male moderators and speakers that it’s not right to have a panel made up of men only. Some of them have come back to me telling me that they now feel uncomfortable interviewing a panel made up of men only.
Men, your best educators about equality and fairness may be the women you have around you. Here is a guide for how to learn more about the world, a world that still has a lot of inequality in it.
1) Listen when a woman shares her experiences. Don’t interrupt or make a joke that belittles the feelings she has about something in her life. Many men act as if their knowledge always prevails and their perspective is the only one that counts.
2) If you know a woman who is in a row with mean, sexist women-haters online go in and support her. How hard can it be? Send her a message or comment on her posts on social media. Doing that as a man, you are going to be seen as a hero.
3) There are lots of documentaries, books, blogs and radio programmes about the gender equality movement around the world. Set yourself up for a month studying equality, diversity and the feminist movement.
4) At work and in other contexts be the one who points out when language and behaviour are sexist. It takes courage to do that, but after a while you strengthen your voice.
5) Don’t push women to explain in detail what they mean by feminism and argue forever about it. It is a touchy subject and has many meanings depending on context and culture. It’s the same with words like democracy, which is also hard to define precisely. Feminism is broad and complicated and there are many opinions and stories that together create the movement.
6) Support the women you know. Acknowledge that they may experience things you’ve never heard about and just because it has not happened to you it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
7) Equality and feminism is a social justice movement. It’s big, complicated and has been alive for hundreds of years. It’s here to stay and won’t go away just because you ignore it.
8) Women rights, human rights and children’s rights are all connected. Better rights for women means better rights for humans. Equal rights for women means better rights for children. It’s all connected and you can be part of that too.
Whatever anyone tells you, you matter and what you do matters.
Thank you for reading and have a great day.
I read every email, comment, and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out. To tweet me connect on @Soffi_Propp.