The white male has played a major part in creating a homogenous work environment for decades. Women and persons of color have been pushed out of the middle-class work culture in multiple industries. Now, men are beginning to see the needed responsibility and benefits of creating diverse work environments. Men have played a major role in the oppression of women and “minorities” in the various workforces. Now with such drastic shifts in American culture, there has been an increase in white men who are also shifting their mindsets to recognizing their male privilege and understanding that they play a part in the glass ceilings which cover various underrepresented and underprivileged groups.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), has implemented a new program based on the idea that in order to create effective work environments, men must be part of the pursuit of adding women to the workforce. After speaking to men in positions of leadership at SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council they found that men have pushed for diversity efforts in some of the largest companies in the engineering industry. These men believe that diversity benefits everyone involved, not just women and “minorities.”
It may seem counterproductive to turn towards the group of people who have created such separation in our culture but there is a separation between men and their mindset. Men with a mindset that acknowledges their conscious and unconscious biases is a significant step in generating a more effective work environment. Programs that have an equal number of men and women and also emphasizes education about unconscious biases when hiring, is another great way to improve company diversity and inclusion.
As well, men under 40 have a much more progressive mindset in regards to gender diversity in the workplace. Millennial men are much more concerned about providing on-the-job childcare and parental leave according to a Boston Consulting Group. Providing an opportunity for younger, millennial men to help lead may also be another step in providing a stronger atmosphere to create workplace diversity.
Implementing diversity programs and promoting change within the male privileged mindset will be an important step in allowing diverse work environments to flourish in any given industry.