As the first of nine children, it’s fair to say that having a sister within a year of me has provided 37 years of ongoing insight and experience into interacting with women. In addition, my 20 plus years as an adult in the workforce have consistently revealed a self-perpetuating patriarchal mindset that asserts men are superior to women, denying them respect and justifying unfairness towards them. That’s something my sister has never submitted to, her inherent self-esteem and confidence dismissed that kind of indoctrination. Thankfully, confident women like her have challenged this bias with their efforts and presence, reminding all of us of the need for justice and personal development to successfully achieve our collective potential. Sadly, not all men have been able to cultivate such support for equality, instead actively participating in the sabotage of their own grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and daughters. In this article I will share three areas of insight and action that can allow for a greater collaboration between men and women in the workplace, supporting a much needed culture of inclusion, equality and diversity.
Offering consistent respect is the first area of importance, one that should be considered a basic human right and a mandatory condition for any interaction. Regardless of one’s title, gender, religious adherence, sexual preference, socioeconomic or political place, such respect allows for healthy boundaries of physical safety and genuine intellectual and emotional consideration of another’s contribution. I’ve found it quite natural to extend this same level of respect to everyone that I’ve worked with (including of course, women) and that this same level of respect was reciprocated. As a result we were able to create a work-life culture that supported both our personal and professional happiness. Collaborative ideas were validated and easily executed, sales and production goals were often exceeded and customer retention was increased, all resulting in greater revenue and more financial rewards for ourselves. I began with this area of respect because I am absolutely convinced that having it present counteracts and resolves many work related concerns.