Recently I attended a conference led by, and focused on, women entrepreneurship.
I heard great ideas, marvelous opportunities and lots of testimonies of success, and failures, that aimed to encourage the audience to never give up because opportunities may be around the corner.
Among the participants, the number of males didn’t reach a dozen.
Few months ago, while I was attending an executive program on Creative Leadership in Amsterdam, I met very interesting female leaders grouped in organizations that champion the gender equality debate and work hard towards this goal not only by activism but concrete actions and deep reflections about the topic.
When I asked them about the presence of males in their organizations, their answer was more an excuse of why they thought they have only few among their members.
Similar situation I encountered when I was invited to share some ideas to a female entrepreneurship group in the island I live: great enthusiasm, lot of synergies but lack of male presence.
And again, some pretexts were given as an answer but they sounded as a justification rather than well thought argumentation.
One of the most powerful phrases I heard in those encounters is that “you probably never need to talk to your friends about being treated different as consequence of your gender” or “have you ever feel sexually harassed by your colleagues?”
The answer is probably “no” to both questions but the issue is not about the reasons why they have created the organization (or group) they are involved now; it is more about inclusion and participation.
Let me develop more this point.
When I heard, watch and read regarding female-only organizations talking about their ideas of equality and how the rest of the world should be a more inclusive place for them, I feel empathy and truly stand for it.
But when I realized that their own platforms lack presence of males, make me think that they are also not inclusive, not diverse.
The situation shouldn’t be perceived as problematic and lacking inclusiveness for being a female-only organization. That per se, is not a problem and could be a great source of potential and synergies. The issue is more about how to spread the equality message widely across the society without generating the rejection effect because it is a “female issue”.
when I realized that their own platforms lack presence of males, make me think that they are also not inclusive, not diverse
I don’t like the stereotype that gender matters can be completely understood only by females, neither I like the speech of males against equality because “it is not our concern”.
What I truly believe is the need to have more males integrating those organizations, male presence in panels where gender issue is tackle and male activism thought example of practicing equality in their family, jobs and in general within the society.
I’m sure the power of such organization, the relevance of such equality, will be stronger and will start to reduce the stigma and rejection to gender messages. More people will feel part of, member of, and be ready to stand by an organization that champions equality by practicing inclusiveness.
Gender inequality shouldn’t be a topic that is addressed in a conference or a reunion of activists, it should be a day to day issue, something normal and not a “thing” lead by feminists.
We all should address gender equality in our daily life, treat it as a common topic, something each of us should care about and contribute towards. The more than we talk and practice it, the faster it become the norm rather the exception and we all can benefit from each other diversity and uniqueness.
To conclude, let me share that I stand by, and try hard, to be coherent towards the idea that our differences are complementary and enhance our reality making it richer, diverse, creative and inclusive.
In summary I believe that:
We don’t need to be equal; we need to be treated equally.