Why Men Like Me Support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts
We’re done with isolating, hyper competitive, and uninspiring work cultures.
Far too many men continue to fight against diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. The retrogressive masculine cultural conditioning that drives this resistance to DEI is generational and runs deep.
Men like myself, (I count myself as one among millions,) don’t just support diversity, equity and inclusion from the standpoint of the business case, which is substantial. We also support more diverse models of leadership because we have lifetimes of experience lived in retrogressive hyper-masculine work cultures and we know how hollow and isolating an experience it can be.
Our long standing domination-based culture of masculinity, also known as Man Box culture, teaches boys and men that in order to validate our masculinity, we must demonstrate power over women and girls. In my own DEI consulting work, I specialize in helping organizations counteract the negative impact Man Box culture has on their efforts to create cultural change.
A woman at the director level of a major bank (she was the only women at that level) described the following scenario to me. That while C-suite leaders at her bank were supporting DEI efforts, middle level managers were creating a coordinated barrier to women moving up and into leadership, intentionally blocking all the innovation and profitability that we know comes with it.
While in retreat before the inclusive cultural changes happening all around them, such men continue to double down on power hoarding and gate keeping because for them, modeling status and power is central to how dominance-based masculinity taught them to construct their male identities.
According to Deloitte, inclusive organizations have dramatically higher levels of innovation, agility, profitability and more. But men like myself also support DEI because it results in the kind of work lives we want for ourselves and for our colleagues. Supporting DEI efforts is an act of enlightened self interest at the most human level, because the alternative, namely retrogressive masculine work cultures are isolating, hyper competitive, individualizing and uninspiring.
This is confirmed whenever I run into men in the workplace who oppose DEI efforts, either openly or, more often, covertly. Such men inevitably are difficult to work with because they can’t help but perform status, power and hierarchy in their work relationships.
When I work with men who support DEI, such men are more open-hearted, collaborative, authentic and supportive of all of us bringing our whole selves. With these men, I don’t have to constantly be on the watch to interrupt bad behavior towards women, BIPOC or LGBTQI+ folks. I’m pleased to see these men, feel joyful in their presence and look forward to my working day. This is what DEI means for men, the end of Man Box culture in the workplace.
Mark Greene is working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more: http://linktr.ee/RemakingManhood.