Quality Culture requires men being better allies to women

ISO 26000: Guidance on social responsibility defines social responsibility as:

The responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:

  • Contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society
  • Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders
  • Is in compliance with applicable laws and consistent with international norms of behavior
  • Is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships

ISO 26000 also defines seven key principles of socially responsible behavior:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Ethical behavior
  • Respect for stakeholder interests
  • Respect for the rule of law
  • Respect for international norms of behavior
  • Respect for human rights

One shouldn’t have to look for reasons for human rights and the drive towards to diversity, but let us simply say there are a ton of studies that show that diversity improves decision making, problem solving and even make us smarter.

In short diversity is critical towards a Quality Culture. Gender equality is a critical part of being a successful quality leader, and it behooves each and every one of us men to drive towards it. To figure out how to make our own workplaces more diverse.

There are many aspects of creating diverse culture but I want to discuss how it is critical that men support women, that we be allies. Too many organizations still miss the mark on gender equity efforts by focusing gender initiatives solely on changing women — from the way they network to the way the lead. Individualistic approaches to solving gender inequities overlook systemic structural causes and reinforce the perception that these are women’s issues — effectively telling men they don’t need to be involved. As always, it is always about the system thinking. Without the avid support of men progress toward ending gender disparities is unlikely and organizations cannot find reap the benefits.

Men need to become better allies by focusing on listening, support, and respect. We need to listen to women’s voices and bring all those core skills of  focus, sincerity, empathy, refusal to interrupt, and genuine valuing to systematically addressing inequities, whether the ubiquitous workplace sexual harassment or gender exclusion. End your silence and support and ally. No matter what level of your organization you are in.

By being a deliberate male ally, by actively promoting gender fairness and equity in the workplace we can drive systematic improvements. To lean on Deming, we can drive out fear. And isn’t that what Quality is all about?

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