Embracing #daditude at the office

As a feminist men’s organization focused on gender equality, we spend a lot of our time sharing with others our belief that we all have an important role to play in challenging this inequality. For us, this work has a clear focus: ending the epidemic of gender violence. We believe strongly that the only way we can achieve this is if we tackle this violence by addressing its roots — and for us, this means actively champion gender equality.

What does this look like for our team at Parker P. and White Ribbon? We have a strong culture of work-life balance, of family first, and of caring for one another.

We practice a lot of #daditude here at the office. We have great discussion and debate about how we balance equality in our own homes: how roles and responsibilities are shared, that we each can actively participate in not just the execution of meals, but also the planning, coordination and the logistics. We talk about how we challenge stereotypical images of women and girls, how we hold up strong role models — and how we confront gender norms. We also make the occasional terrible dad joke.

For us, defining #daditude means opting into paternity leave, building relationships with our children and loved ones, being present for as much of the everyday routines as possible, challenging racist, homophobic and sexism when we see it.

Building a work culture that welcomes #daditude and many forms of positive male role modelling is achievable in all kinds of organizations. Even in places where the gender balance skews towards hyper-masculinity, efforts can be made to make women and other non-dominant groups feel more welcome. Men can help ensure that women’s experiences are valued, that they aren’t interrupted and are championed. Men can step up and take on roles that are often left to women, taking the meeting minutes or offering to make the next pot of coffee.

At 4pm at the White Ribbon headquarters, there is a slow shuffling towards the door. The 4pm shuffle is part of how we practice what we preach: flexible, inclusive work environments that allow us to be present at work and at home. It’s a time at which many of us who have caregiving responsibilities go offline so that we can shift into our other role.

We’re thrilled that a new conversation about the world of work is underway: we’re seeing new proposed policy changes in Ontario that will better reflect the realities of working families, such as better protections for part-time workers and sick day programs. We think that this larger conversation invites an amazing opportunity for us all to look at our own work cultures, and to consider how we can give men and women the chance to lean in to work and home.