Steve Jordan reflects on a recent IAM webinar that discussed what men can do to ensure women are taken more seriously in business.
It’s not often that I am shocked. Mildly surprised perhaps, sometimes a little puzzled, but shocked is not part of my everyday life. But on Wednesday, 25 August I was, shocked. This is going to need some explanation and, although I haven’t made it past paragraph one of this story, I feel it might be a long one. Please bear with me. I’ll be as concise as I can.
On that day I joined in a webinar presented by the IAM Leadership Alliance Council entitled The Power of Gender Collaboration, Part 1. It featured Georgia Angell, Principal of Trellis Vine Consulting, LLC; Tim Helenthal, CEO of National Van Lines Inc; and gender-in-the-workplace experts David G Smith, PhD and W Brad Johnson, PhD, both of Johns Hopkins University. The session was moderated by IAM’s own Julia O’Connor.
I could go into a long explanation here of who said what to whom, but for the purpose of this piece it’s probably sufficient to explain the general subject matter. The discussion was about the way in which women are treated by some men in business. We are not talking about sexual abuse, not in a physical sense anyway, but a more subtle trivialisation of their role and a lack of appreciation of their value to an organisation. The purpose of the webinar was to alert men to the problem and to the possibility that they might be guilty themselves, if inadvertently. The experts from Johns Hopkins offered some remedies, including encouraging men to step in to ensure that women had the opportunity of voicing their opinions in meetings.
What shocked me was that this was a necessary discussion in the 21st century ...