Why men must be involved in gender balance

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More and more organisations are rolling out women’s networks and gender initiatives as companies realise the true value of diversity – however, one leading CEO says the schemes would be far more effective if they engaged men too.
“The way to produce more significant results is through a combination of working with both women and men,” says Richard Nesbitt, CEO of the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services.
“Companies provide these programs which are designed solely for women and they have women’s networks which are solely for women but you’re actually going to underachieve what you could have done if you engaged both men and women together.”
Nesbitt – who’s also an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto – says men still hold much of the power within organisations so it’s only logical that diversity initiatives should seek out their support.
“What I always say is; who runs companies today? Basically men, right? Eighty-per cent of executives are men so it should appear obvious to include men in the solution,” he tells HRD.
“Organisations should be trying to engage men and to convince men – and some are already convinced –that this is an opportunity to improve their companies,” he says.
Nesbitt, who was formerly the CEO of TSX Group – which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange – says organisational leaders would be making a huge mistake if they continue to ignore the increasing amount of evidence that points to the benefits of gender diversity.
“The research is becoming increasingly clear that the inclusion of more women in boards and management will improve your company,” he tells HRD.
“You’re not going to be competitive on a number of fronts probably on the ability to do business, secondly you’re not going to be competitive in terms of recruiting and thirdly you’re going to be seen by other stakeholders as not an attractive organisation.”

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