A lot of guys get that equality programs—things like flexible work arrangements, mentoring programs, on-site childcare, and legislative solutions for equal pay—are good for women and men. They believe in equality, not just because they care about women, but because they recognize it’s in their own interests. For example, of the more than 25 million married couples with children in the United States in 2010, 57.7% were dual-career couples. And in 2009, working wives contributed 37.1% to family income. Yet many women today still earn less and get promoted less frequently than men from day one of their careers—regardless of their aspirations, credentials, work experience and parenthood status. Over the course of a 40-year career, this can add up to an average of $380,000 in lost wages. For fathers who rely on their partner’s income, support for pay equity is a no-brainer. Equal pay equals more money for the family.
But despite all men have to gain from equality initiatives, their voices aren’t often heard and relatively few appear on the front lines, driving company efforts to create inclusive workplaces. Why? Recent research from Catalyst offers some clues. For starters, the research series titled Engaging Men reveals that failing to recognize gender inequalities in the workplace is one critical factor that might be keeping men from coming forward. The series reveals that another obstacle for men was perceiving that they might not be welcomed in becoming a part of efforts that have been typically driven by women, or that they might not be able to make value contributions to such activities. It shows that for other men, it was the reactions of other men—rather than women—that was a barrier to men’s advocacy. Specifically, men’s uncertainty about how respected male peers would react if they took a public stand for gender equality was found to inhibit some men from stepping forward. How do we remove these barriers and empower men to join with women in claiming the many benefits of equality?
This is where MARC comes in.
Men Advocating Real Change, or MARC (www.ontheMARC.org), is a new online learning community created by Catalyst especially for men committed to achieving equality in the workplace. MARC is a space where men can learn about and increase their awareness of gender inequality—without judgment—in a community where they enjoy the full support of other men and women allies who share their desires to help create inclusive work environments. For men who are unsure about how to effectively advocate change, MARC is also a source of member-generated advice, insights, and best practices.
Supporting equality does not mean the end of men. It is not a zero-sum game. More and more men are recognizing that when they support initiatives that foster workplace equality they are not only helping women, but themselves too.
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business.