Spotlight On... Males Championing Females #BreakTheBias

5 min

#BreakTheBias was the theme for International Women's Day back in 2022 and while the theme changes year on year, the messages still remain the same.

To #BreakTheBias, promote gender equality and see more female presence in leadership positions - women need more male allies.

Male allies support and promote gender equality. They are eager to work with females to break down stereotypes and gender bias in the workplace. Males who champion females are essential to increase female presence in male dominated sectors. Their involvement is crucial in taking giant steps forward in breaking the bias.

There is strong emphasis on, and a view that women need to do more themselves. The focus should not be on what women need to do to achieve successful career paths or increased visibility at leadership level. Organisations and male counterparts need to take ownership. They need to know how to help encourage a gender diverse workplace.

Latest data from the US Census Bureau highlights the growth of new female directors on Fortune 500 boards. This has increased from 29.8% in 2015 to 41% in 2020. This is significant progress, even if there is still some way to go.

Below, is the share of female held leadership roles in FTSE 100 companies in 2020:

8% CEO's

14.2% Exec Directors

42.2% Non Exec Directors

36.2% Boardroom Positions

Looking at the same breakdown for 2023, there are notable improvements of the presence of women in leadership positions:

9% CEO's

16.4% Exec Directors

46.4% Non Exec Directors

40.5% Boardroom Positions

The #HeForShe campaign focuses on bringing together leaders to work towards a more equal world. It sets ambitious commitments and goals to strive towards gender equality. The #HeForShe campaign is a growing community of over three million which sparks over two billion conversations across social media each year. There are three and a half million gender equality commitments as a result. It is an impactful movement.

According to the US Census Bureau, 30% of American wives in dual-income marriages now earn more than their husbands. Females are the ‘breadwinners’ in many heterosexual relationships. This shows the drive and determination of females to pursue successful and highly paid careers.

At CSG Talent, we are fortunate to have a fantastic support network of males in the business who champion female talent. We understand the importance of raising awareness of the significant role male allies can play. Men can promote gender equality and support women in their career and progression, ultimately resulting in an increased presence of females at a senior level.

How Men Can Support Females with the Battle for Gender Equality

There are many ways that males, and organisations can champion females in the workplace. Developing understanding, raising awareness and sharing equal responsibilities. Creating policies and a structure to promote a fair, equal and supportive environment.

Here are some examples the team at CSG Talent promote to ensure males effectively champion females both inside and outside of the business:

Consider the language in which you communicate

This is a simple yet effective process to allow positive changes to be made when it comes to communication. A lot of communication both verbal and written can be very masculine so it is important to educate males (and females) on the differences between masculine and feminine communication styles. Communication can become much more effective and appropriate for all parties by doing this. Our L&D function deliver training to highlight the language we should consider, this is important both internally at CSG Talent for our own talent attraction and retention and it's also significant in the role we play for our clients and candidates.

Listen, learn and educate

There is a lack of awareness of the challenges women still face in the workplace. Many are unaware of the advantages males have in progressing their careers. If male leaders took the time to listen and understand these challenges it would have a huge impact on gender equality in the workplace. Reach out to female colleagues and hold focus groups. Encourage women to speak out. This can result in increased understanding of the female perspective and challenges that need to be overcome.

Celebrate and share success

If a female achieves a personal goal, makes a significant discovery or success – men should recognise and celebrate this. Give females credit for the work they do and unsure it doesn’t go un-noticed. This will reach a wider audience of females and highlight role models and influential figures to aspire towards. 

Stephanie Krouse is a Neurophysiologist and National Technologist Manager and has worked in a male dominated industry for over 15 years. She admits there have been moments where she has experienced prejudice as a female in the industry. Yet, her individual experience has been positive. “Throughout various stages of my career I’ve received overwhelming support from male allies. They have given me the same respect and credit as my male peers. I’m surrounded by male champions who support and push you to develop and improve yourself in the field, irrelevant of gender. Being successful within Neurosurgery isn’t related to gender, it’s about how competent you are.”

Share opportunities to support growth

Women often miss out on opportunities to progress their career. Men should be encouraged to share responsibilities where possible and open doors to opportunities females otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Introduce influential figures in the field who can take on a role as mentor. Encourage females to apply and put themselves forward for promotions, leadership development programmes. This will allow for opportunities to grow.

Challenge inequality and gender bias

Across all industries, there are stereotypes which hinder and are derogatory to females. Some females are overlooked for opportunities because of preconceptions of the role women play in an organisation. Even today, men often have more of a voice and respect in business situations. The worst thing a male can do in this situation is to stay silent. Speaking up and challenging inequality will help address prejudice and stereotypes of women. In many scenarios, it’s not a result of malice, it’s down to lack of understanding and being challenged.

The Benefits of a Diverse Leadership Team

Having a diverse leadership team can bring many benefits to an organisation. It will result in a wide range of new perspectives, ideas, and approaches. A diverse leadership team positively contributes to business activity levels, productivity, and innovation. It also improves a brand's reputation, attractiveness, and appeal as an employer of choice.

Alex Wilkinson, Director of Global Mining at CSG Talent shared his thoughts on diversity in leadership roles:

“Female leaders tend to have an increased percentage of diversity in their teams. It is widely known that attracting a female to a leadership role typically means a greater number of females will join that business as a result. This can have a significant influence on a company’s diversity across their workforce."

In male dominated industries, a female hiring manager can be the difference for a female candidate considering career opportunities. If you are a male hiring manager looking to attract more diversity to your team, demonstrate examples of empowering females in your business to progress. This could be a powerful tool in a tight talent market to attract a female candidate to your business.”

Women research an organisation to establish the stance on D&I and view how diverse a leadership team is. If there is a diverse team with a good presence of females, this will help women feel aligned to the company and see a future for themselves with them and consider an opportunity.

Stephanie Krouse highlighted how “actions speak louder than words. I’d be keen to delve deeper than a business website and have conversations around the topic to establish what it means to a business. It's important to know what actions will be taken and their diversity goals. A big focus for Assure Neuromonitoring is to continually improve in relation to diversity."

We know we have continuous improvements to make to support a more equal environment at CSG Talent. We are also keen to contribute to the global efforts across all industries we operate. A big part is to encourage men to play their vital part in increasing the presence of females in leadership roles. It’s an exciting time and we will continue to see more steps forward, increased visibility and career progression of females in years to come.

Simon Gillibrand, Head of Global Natural Resources: “Within CSG Talent we appreciate the importance of a diverse workforce and the promotion of our female colleagues. A focus for us over the last few years has been to create an environment where women can thrive. I manage the global mining team where we have worked hard to increase our female representation. Within the UK, our team is now over 60% female. We have worked hard to celebrate the success and help promote the careers of females within the team. This has helped to encourage and inspire more females to join the team and see there is a successful career path for them at CSG Talent.”