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Bringing men on the journey towards gender balance – 4 signs of hope!

How do we bring men on the journey towards gender balance? I’ve long been pondering this question… and I’ve long observed that the only progress more glacial than the advancement of women into leadership roles is the journey of men towards enlightenment.  However I’ve observed four things over the past fortnight that give me some hope that perhaps we’re right on the cusp of some significant change:

  1. High profile men are beginning to talk about women in leadership as a key business issue.  I wrote earlier in the week about the business letter launched by the Male Champions of Change.  I’ve never seen anything like this in my global research and when you consider who the authors are and all the important priorities that must come across their desks, it’s a very promising sign.
  2. Men are beginning to acknowledge this is a brave new world for them.  On Wednesday I attended the launch of the new AIM Gender Diversity in Management Greenpaper (which I’ll write more about later) and one of the speakers was Serge Sardo, CEO of AHRI.  Serge shared his vulnerability in this space: he’s not an expert in gender balance and he’s learning on his feet.  In fact he was raised in the southern Mediterranean culture and admitted (as a son) that “his mother peeled his oranges and poured his drinks”.  In other words he, like many of his contemporaries, are first generation gender equals and his personal frame of reference is having to completely flip in order to meet his own expectation of equal opportunities and entitlements for both his son and his daughter throughout their lifetime.
  3. Even boys are beginning to call for change.  You might have heard about the work High Resolves is doing in its Global Citizenship Program with school students.  One of the projects produced last year by students at Sydney Boys High is this Gender Equality Project – in which a group of teenage boys acknowledge the injustice of gender inequality.  It’s certainly a promising sign for the future of gender balanced leadership…
  4. Men are making choices that would never have been contemplated by their fathers.  This morning I decided that Master E and I would both have a late start, so before Daycare we took an impromptu early morning excursion to the Zoo.  And it’s sights like this – two dads with their kids doing exactly the same thing – that really left me thinking, the times they are a changing. 

    One thing I know for sure is that my father – and my husband’s father – would never, ever have done this!

So for sure, the change is slow… but it’s change nonetheless…

Your thoughts?  Are we seeing enough social shift? Do we need to do more?  Or is there enough change afoot to support gender balance in business and leadership?    

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2 months ago

Jen Dalitz

What are the lessons you’re teaching your kids? We took the opportunity of a holiday long weekend to visit my mum interstate as the timing of the trip coincided with my son’s favourite AFL team battling it out against my mum’s beloved team. Perhaps only those of you with the love for AFL will appreciate why we’d plan a long distance trip around a game of footy, but suffice to say it was a passion project! With every ounce of anticipation, the game was a tough, tight duel and could easily have gone either way. Yet when the final siren sounded, it wasn’t our team that was smiling. It sure is tough for a 10 year old boy to sit within a crowd 41,000+ people all cheering for the opposite side. It was tough for him to see the exhaustion and disappointment on the faces of the players he adores. And yet, it’s so important for him to learn that his team won’t always win. There’s so many lessons in that, but the one I chose to instil is that you won’t always back the team that wins but you’ll always back the team that you love. That’s why I asked him to wear his team colours home the next day, and show his support even when the chips are down. That’s the kind of commitment I want my son to learn and the kind of team player I want him to be. PS. #gotheGiants @GWSGiants #neversurrender ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Jen Dalitz

I haven’t been here in a while as the writing has been on hold. But I was reminded today that there are things in our life that light us up. That might take us out of our comfort zone but, once you sit with it, bring you both joy and a sense of “I can do this” achievement. These moments are such a gift. So I’m curious, what’s your special thing that lights you up?

Despite (or in spit of) my professional career, these moments for me normally involve my horses. I’ll never be an equestrian Olympian, but I take great pleasure in all the lessons my horses teach me. They remind me that it’s a team effort, we’re in it together, and that if I’m prepared to give a little bit more, they will too. That’s true whether we’re on the ground taking care of their feet, or grooming, or when I’m atop riding as one. Two hearts one team.
It’s hard to describe the adrenaline and joy they bring to my life. But I’d love to know, what lights you up??
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And so, maybe time does change some things. Or women do.

Skavlan Talkshow
– They let me go at 42 because they told me I was too old to represent women's dreams. #kvinnedagen

Watch our talk show interview with Isabella Rossellini here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRa7UptZ3qw
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