5 Ways Men Can Be Better Allies for Gender Inequality

Gender inequality

It’s wild to think that women in New South Wales have only been allowed to vote since 1902, and that it’s only been since 1920 in the US. And while we’ve come a long way since then, there’s still a way to go, with one of the main issues being that equality is still seen as a ‘women’s issue’.

While there has been an increasing focus on media messaging on gender inequality to men, the media has failed to engage them properly. In fact, initiative FCK the Cupcakes, designed to fight the endemic misogyny in the workplace, notes that telling men what’s right and wrong on a rational level not only lacks emotion and relevance but, if anything, it gets them offside.

“To date, society has been on a mission to cure the symptoms — we teach women to be more resilient, to learn self-protection, to use hand signals to save themselves,” reads the FCK the Cupcakes’ Be The Change campaign messaging. “If we continue focusing on women as the solution, we’re not solving the root problem.”

So, all that said, what can men do to become better allies for gender inequality?

Reflect on Your Own Privilege

Self-awareness is key to being an effective ally as it means understanding the role you’re inadvertently playing in society. In a 2020 article titled 7 Ways Men Can Be Better Allies for Gender Equality, the author suggests asking yourself: “How has your gender influenced the opportunities you’ve had in life? What are you able to do only because you are a man?”

You should also be educating yourself on your privilege, bias and (unintentional) role in perpetuating systems of discrimination and inequality. You can do this by reading books and articles, and attending diversity and inclusion events.

Speak Up When You Hear Sexist Language

Though it’s easier said than done — speaking up at the time or pulling someone aside later when you hear them use sexist language can go a long way in correcting the problem. They might not have been aware of their words or the effect they had.

“[…] Men calling each other out sends a powerful message that sexist language and actions will no longer be tolerated,” reads the 7 Ways article.

Listen to Women’s Perspectives

Actively seek out opportunities to listen to women’s stories and then acknowledge their experiences and take their concerns seriously. An important thing to keep in mind when

“Generous, world-class listening requires focus, sincerity, empathy, refusal to interrupt, and genuine valuing of both her experience and her willingness to share it with you,” reads article How Men Can Become Better Allies to Women.

Step It Up at Home

Historically, women have always been the primary caregivers for children and the ones responsible for maintaining the household, while the men were the main breadwinners. And while that’s certainly not the case anymore, it’s important to be aware of this and maintain an equal role in the home.

Be Prepared to Feel Uncomfortable

And finally, you’ll want to be prepared to feel uncomfortable with new conversations and remembering past mistakes. “Becoming an effective ally doesn’t happen overnight,” reads the article 7 Ways. “But Australia needs more of its men to start the work.”

For more info on FCK The Cupcakes’ Be the Change campaign, head here, and to follow them on socials, head here.

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