Fawcett Study Shows It's Time For Men to ‘Lean In’ To Achieve Gender Equality

Fawcett Study Shows It's Time For Men to ‘Lean In’ To Achieve Gender Equality

New research by the Fawcett Society reveals most men believe gender equality is good for them and the economy - but that men in top jobs won’t make room for women unless they have to. 

New evidence published by Fawcett demonstrates the need for decisive action, and confirms the Women’s Equality Party’s approach to achieving gender parity in business is the right one.

“The Women’s Equality Party has laid out plans to use quotas in boardrooms and executive boards in order to achieve gender parity. Fawcett’s study shows this is the only way to break down resistance among senior male leaders to women’s progression into top jobs,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party.

“It’s time for men to ‘lean in’ and help achieve gender equality.”

Fawcett’s biggest ever survey of 8,000 people also found that the vast majority of men support gender equality, and only 7% of men think they would lose out if we had a more equal society. But six in ten people believed that men in top jobs won’t make room for women unless they have to, with 64 percent of women and 55 percent of men stating this.

“Fawcett’s ‘Sex Equality – State of the Nation’ report confirms what WE already know: that senior leaders continue to block women’s progress, in spite of overwhelming evidence that more women at the top benefits individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. WE call on people of all genders to support us in making this a priority in May’s elections,” Walker said.

Sam Smethers, Fawcett Chief Executive said: “A majority of people clearly believe that when it comes to the crunch, men won’t move over unless they have to. This is why we need positive action and why quotas would make a difference.”

Walker said many men continue to join WE in order to actively participate in progressing gender equality: “WE have already recruited hundreds of men – thought leaders – to our Party. They realise it’s up to them to create change, and one of the ways they are helping achieve this is by backing WE.”

Founder WE member Maurice Biriotti, CEO of specialist business services provider SHM Ltd, said: “Equality in the workplace is an ethical issue, but everyone knows there's a powerful economic argument too. Any organisation needs talent to thrive, and ignoring or disadvantaging half the population makes no sense. Most smart companies know this. Men need to do their bit.”

Walker added: “WE are delighted that Fawcett has affirmed all of our key policies: unconscious bias training for managers and the removal of harmful employment tribunal fees which are a barrier to women bringing sex discrimination claims; the use of quotas to get more women on boards; and a move to ‘flexibility by default’, requiring all jobs to be advertised on a flexible basis unless there is a good business reason not to.”

“WE will be campaigning on these policies in the spring elections in London, Wales and Scotland, and look forward to working with Fawcett’s members across the UK to make equality matter. We congratulate them on this vital research – and wish them a very happy 150th birthday.”

 

Editors’ notes:

Party leader Sophie Walker is available for comment on this story. Press enquiries to Catherine Riley, Communications and Partnerships Manager (catherine.riley@womensequality.org.uk/+447764 752 731).

The Women’s Equality Party is committed to equality of opportunity in business and politics as one of its six core policy goals. In order to achieve this, WE will:

  • WE will expect a balanced board in all listed companies by 2025. That means by 2020, 40% of board and Executive Committee positions should be held by women. WE will encourage private companies to reach the same goal.
  • WE will require all Local Enterprise Partnerships to have 50:50 representation within five years, and develop a bespoke local plan for supporting women-led businesses.
  • WE call for unconscious bias training for decision makers
  • WE will remove employment tribunal fees which are a barrier to women bringing sex discrimination claims
  • WE will work with the business community to make flexible working the default.


The Women’s Equality Party was founded by Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer in March 2015, and launched its policies on 20 October. Read the full policy document here.