What if she was your daughter?
Monday, June 1, 2015
By Jeffery Halter
Most men today lead very compartmentalized lives. We put on our suit of
armor and walk out the door to do battle.
Sure, we may drop off the kids once in a while or coach our daughter’s
soccer team, but unless a family event appears on our calendar, we really don’t
make a connection between our family lives and work lives. This is particularly
true of men and how they work with women in the workplace.
My request this Father’s Day is for more men to treat women like their
daughters. Not in a patronizing "pat them on the head" manner, but
with the same spirit of support they would have for their daughter.
Every time a man automatically assumes a woman should take notes in a
meeting or make the coffee, he sends a subtle message that women are not as
important as men.
Related: Memo to men: Don't just 'get it,' do it
The next time a women speaks up in a meeting and is talked over by men,
I want you to picture your seventh grade daughter being talked over by boys in
school. Every time men use the word "honey" or "sweetie" or even something
worse to address women at work, I want you to think about the teenage boy who
is calling your daughter "hot" (or something worse). Sadly, women at
work are besieged daily by a death of a thousand seemingly minor inequities and
men aren't even aware of it.
I propose that this Father's Day, instead of expecting a gift from their
daughter or wife, men should give them a gift by speaking up for women and
pushing for workplace change — today — in hopes of creating a level playing
field for their daughters in the future.
With this thought in mind, I've created the Father of a Daughter (FOD)
Initiative, because what better gift can a father give his daughter than a shot
at a brighter future? An FOD is a father of a daughter who realizes the
responsibility he has for advocating for women in the workplace to ensure that
his daughter is able to have a gender equitable workplace in the future. The
FOD Initiative is a roadmap for men to help women around them.
As part of the FOD Initiative,
their understanding of the business case for women in their organization and
- Write the
business case for their department for women regarding revenue, talent and
engagement and discuss it with their team each month.
- Find a
female cultural coach, someone they can have an honest discussion with
regarding the real experiences women are having in the company.
- Mentor a
woman. If their position allows, they will become an advocate for a woman. If they
sit at the talent table they will become a sponsor for a woman.
their understanding of their company's HR practices, specifically gender equity
issues in selection, compensation and performance management.
and demonstrate workplace flexibility for all employees, so that women don’t
feel they are being singled out for special treatment.
The idea is for male leaders to read a simple one-page commitment,
print it out, sign it and place it in the office where everyone can see
it. The sole act of taking a stand for supporting women’s workplace
advancement will demonstrate to employees that you are the proud father of a
daughter who gets it!
My hope is that you will post this in your office next to the special
handmade card your daughter is going to give you on your special day.
Jeffery Tobias Halter is president of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on creating
integrated women’s leadership strategies through male engagement. A Network of Executive Women member and speaker, he is the author of Why Women, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing
Women and Engaging Men.
Views expressed in blogs, posts
and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and
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