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NEW works to bolster male membership and engagement

Man with microphone

The Network of Executive Women is working to increase its male membership and engage more men in its gender equality efforts with a new learning program for its 22 regions.

“Engaging Men in the Movement,” a 90-minute, solutions-based workshop that debuted at the NEW South Texas Fall Learning event November 7, 2018, focuses on the role of men as advocates for women, actions men can take as individuals and leaders to advance gender equality and strategies for building a corporate culture that supports women’s leadership. The Houston event featured Jeffery Tobias Halter, president of YWomen, who presented best practices for moving men from advocacy to action.

“As an organization advocating for gender diversity and inclusion, it’s important we practice what we preach,” said NEW Vice President of Strategic Value Karianne Gomez. “We’re also reaching out to women of color and young leaders so that our membership better reflects our communities and workplaces. Without the full support of women and men, at every career stage, across functions, there will be no gender equality.”

The “Engaging Men in the Movement” learning program will be available for NEW regional events in 2019. “Our regional leaders will be inviting their male colleagues and local company leaders to share their real-life experiences and insights, driving home the message of the power of male advocacy,” Gomez said.

“Many of NEW’s corporate partners are already working to engage men,” she added. “This program supplements those efforts at the local level and provides NEW members who do not work at companies as far along on their gender equality journeys an opportunity to develop an ongoing conversation about male advocacy and grow the number of male allies in their NEW regions.”

Among the factors preventing men from becoming champions of gender equality are apathy — or not seeing or understanding women’s career barriers, a lack of empathy or understanding that women have different workplace experiences, little accountability in the workplace and a fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, Gomez noted.

NEW has formed a working committee of male leaders who are providing feedback on outreach, learning programs and conference content.