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Men need to take the initiative to support women in the workplace

Written on May 1, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

As organizations work to tackle the issues women face in the workplace, men have a vital role to play.

“It’s important for men to understand the issues women deal with and what they’re going through to be supportive,” said Jay Moeller, CPA, partner at RSM US LLP.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted a survey where women listed work-life balance, equal pay, harassment, career opportunities and children and career as their top concerns.

And the accounting profession is not immune to these issues, either. In a profession that’s roughly half women, they still comprise only 22% of firm partners. Companies lose in more ways than one when they don’t address these longstanding problems, especially in today’s business culture where organizations are being pressured more and more to offer solutions. If your workplace is coming up empty-handed, talented employees will leave in search of a more supportive environment.

“You invest money in people and you’re going to want that return,” Moeller said. “The last thing you want is someone who has spent the last couple years working for you to decide to go work somewhere else.”

Accenture found in a recent survey that organizations that treated women and men equally were able to innovate significantly more effectively than those that didn’t. This is especially important for those in leadership positions in companies, who have the influence and opportunity to create change for the better.

“It’s key to understand if you’re in a role of leadership, whether you’re male or female, a big part of your job is to listen,” Moeller said. “To have an open door. To be there when someone needs to talk about whatever issue they’re struggling with and try to put yourself in their shoes.”

Moeller said that as organizations continue to address these issues there might be missteps but urged leaders in the profession to continue to work toward solutions and not let mistakes deter progress. According to a Harvard Business Review article, research shows “that when men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of organizations see progress — compared to only 30% of organizations where men are not engaged.”

“Is it perfect? No, nothing ever is,” Moeller said. “But you just have to keep pushing and moving forward.”

Men are invited to attend the upcoming Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference on June 27 in Columbus to learn more about supporting women in the business environment. Register here.