Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: Stacking the Deck for Success

Catalyst believes that men have a critical role to play in diversity and inclusion efforts, especially initiatives to eliminate gender bias. In Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: What Change Agents Need to Know, the first report in Catalyst's Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series, Catalyst provided pivotal information about the cultural forces that can undermine organizational efforts to fully engage men as champions of gender initiatives. In this second report, Catalyst examines factors that can heighten or dampen men’s interest in acquiring skills to become effective change agents for gender equality at work.

Impetus: In Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: Stacking the Deck for Success, Catalyst provides information and advice for managing a bedrock D&I training success factor: employees’ pre-training attitudes. The study provides concrete recommendations for how organizations can communicate more persuasively with men about gender-related learning opportunities.

Methodology: This study was conducted using an online survey of 294 men. Participants were asked about their willingness to participate in a proposed D&I training course for middle and senior corporate managers and were told that the course would equip managers with expertise in creating inclusive work environments for both women and men employees. After being randomly assigned to read one of four rationales for the course, participants responded to questions assessing their reactions to the proposed training. The survey also included several demographic questions.

Findings: The study findings revealed four factors influencing men’s interest in D&I training. The most important factor was men’s perception of how interested other managers would be in the course. Other important factors included men’s perceptions regarding the impact the training could have in improving the external communities where their businesses operated, the relevance of the training to their current job, and men’s zero-sum belief regarding gender diversity efforts.

Exclusive Lead Sponsor: The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. 
Lead Sponsor: Ernst & Young LLP 
Participating Sponsor: IBM Corporation
Contributing Sponsor: Shell International, B.V.