Both men and women need gender partnership because it makes sense on so many fronts.
There is a win win for both men and women if we embrace gender partnership and all it affords. But for this to happen, we as men, in our roles as fathers, husbands, partners, and leaders, must acknowledge that the old model of what it means to be a man isn’t serving anyone.
This also means that it is time to embrace a new model of being a man that can support us, our families, our communities, and our organizations.
I know this first hand at home.
My wife and I work full time and the only way we can successfully run our household is as partners. We both share in the responsibilities, utilizing our corresponding skill sets and capabilities to get things done. Old gender models of who-does-what don’t apply. Yes I do laundry, empty the dishwasher, cook, clean, shop for food… whatever is needed to create the home we both want. It’s this commitment to the same end game that drives our partnership forward.
It wasn’t always this way for me.
My first marriage had me unconsciously step into the old model I watched growing up with dad going to work and mom responsible for raising my brother, sister and me.
My unconscious mind saw that as the man, I was supposed to go to work, provide, and that most everything else was left to my wife.
That didn’t last long.
Ultimately my lack of emotional literacy, the “running” of the old model of what it meant to be a man, led to my divorce and my wake up call.
The old patriarchal model of leadership is fast becoming extinct. Two very large and powerful groups – women and millennials – are demanding a different model. They want flexibility, community, purpose, and to be valued for their contributions.
So do I! And I imagine many men want this too.
If companies are going to thrive and remain competitive in the 21st century, then we will need heart driven leadership from the men in power that will require empathy, emotional literacy, and yes even some vulnerability.
The influence of women on men
In my work as an inclusionary leader, I could not have become the man I am today without the support, feedback, and encouragement from women in the workplace. I have learned and continue to learn from empowered women, as well as representatives from other target groups, on my journey of being an inclusionary leader.
The women in our lives – whether it be the women we work with, our spouses, our daughters, our sisters, or complete and total strangers – deserve the same opportunities as us guys.
They need good men to do our part in using our power and privilege for good, by standing up for gender equity, equality, and ultimately doing this by being gender partners.
What is a guy to do?
Be part of a movement. For starters, learn about this topic and what you can do along with other men and women committed to gender partnership by attending The BetterMan Conference: Empowered Leadership through Gender Partnership in San Francisco on April 7th and 8th.
As a committed man myself, I invite you to consider my invitation to:
- Assume the responsibility of leaders to create safer, more balanced dynamics in teams, organizations, families and communities.
- Rethink how men interact both personally and professionally, how men lead, raise their kids and how they define success.
- Become part of a growing sustainable community of committed men to action.
Hope to see you at the Better Man Conference!