How to Get Men Involved with Gender Parity Initiatives

by Elad N. Sherf and Subra Tangirala

Companies face considerable challenges when seeking to institute a more gender-equitable culture. One is that the success of organizational change requires the involvement of employees — but when it comes to change programs aimed at increasing gender parity, diversity officers struggle to engage men, who often constitute the majority in organizations and hold more positions of power and influence. To address this challenge, we first need to understand why men do not get involved in such initiatives. A series of studies points to one potential reason: psychological standing. Psychological standing refers to whether a person feels they have the legitimacy to perform an action with respect to a cause or an issue. It reflects how someone judges the extent to which they “have a place in” conversations about an issue, or whether it is “their business” to participate. The research shows that men often refrain from participating in or speaking up about gender parity initiatives, because they experience lowered levels of psychological standing than women — that is, they feel that it is not their place to engage with those initiatives. (Read the full article)