PWN Milan: Engaging Men in Gender Balance: Raising the Bar 

PWN Milan recently held their final event in a four-part series of Workshops designed  to tackle the gender balance discussion, not only from the point of view of women, but involving men as allies and activists for the cause.

PWN Milan Engaging Men EventThe initiative to create this “cross gender” dialogue was proposed by Gini Dupasquier, President of PWN Milan. She reached out to Robert Baker, former VP Engaging Men and Co-President of PWN Global, to help craft the series of workshops that would deliver on her vision. After a kick off session led by Robert, PWN Milan held an initial workshop, in the fabulous location provided by corporate partner Google, led by Andrea Turco. The theme was “In Her Shoes”, and was designed to expose men to the actual lived experience of women in the workplace.

PWN Milan Engaging Men EventThe next two workshops, led by Robert, focussed on men only to provide a “safe space” for them to talk openly and honestly about the issues, challenges and opportunities that they saw to engage in gender balance. This helped them recognise and understand their privilege and power as men, and their obligation to provide support to those with less advantage. 

These workshops helped them articulate their motivation for taking part in this initiative and to develop their pitch on why gender balance was so important for them, but also for women, organisations and society.  We also explored how they could be better allies for women in the home, as well as the workplace.

For the fourth workshop, held on 6th April in Milan, we brought men and women together, in person, to discuss how we can raise the bar by getting more men engaged in gender balance and accelerate the progress of women into leadership positions.

In a panel session at the event, we heard key learnings from HR Directors and executives who had participated in the earlier workshops and they each shared a personal commitment, alongside the practical actions they have taken inside their organisations to support and promote better balance.

We then held table discussions to explore how all genders could work together to build a more balanced and inclusive workplace. Here are the key conclusions from the session:

  • Business benefits: We should stress the business benefits from gender balance, particularly the positive impact on the engagement of current generations coming into the workforce
  • Start with Leadership: Leaders must be role models for gender balance to influence managers and employees. They need training and support to learn the skills required
  • Daughters make a difference: Executives with daughters are more likely to be interested in women’s careers and become advocates for gender balance
  • Culture is critical: To create real change, organisations need to move away from male centric ways of working to build a culture which is inclusive and family orientated
  • Supportive policies: Organisations should improve their childcare and paternity leave provisions to create an environment where women and men can fulfil their parental and work commitments and where men actively take their full paternity leave entitlement
  • New generations: Younger people coming into the workplace expect the organisation to be diverse and inclusive and are fully supportive of equality of opportunity and treatment for all genders at work and at home. Employers need to be aware of this and ensure they have an employee value proposition that accords with this expectation
  • Courage is needed: building a gender balanced culture is not easy and requires leaders to be brave and break away from current practices and values.

The passionate discussions continued in the networking that followed (with aperitivi). Everyone agreed we should hold a follow up session later in the year to check in on the progress made towards raising the bar on engaging men in gender balance.

We are now looking at where to hold the next workshop series and would invite PWN City networks to reach out if they think this concept could work in their city and country. 

Not currently a member of a PWN City Network, and you’d like to get involved in these sessions? Join a city network today, or contact us to find out more. 




We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more.

I accept cookies from this site