PWN Milan: Engaging Men in the Gender Balance Discussion

In my 3 years as President of PWN Milan, Engaging Men in the gender balance discussion has been a goal and a priority. Finally seeing a room with so many men willing to share their experience, motivations and commitment was a great satisfaction.

I strongly believe that, together, we can make our companies better, healthier and happier places to work, and benefit everyone.

This programme would not have been possible without former PWN Global Co-President, and CEO of Potentia Talent Consulting, Robert Baker and our precious PWN Milan Board Members, Silvia Gallitto and Giulia Miglio - I thank you all for helping bring this important work to the world.  

I would also like to thank Arkadia Translations, Katya Aricci, and Bruno Antonini for sponsoring this year's programme, and Christian Altomare and Alberto Mariotti Cesarini Romaldi for your contribution “on stage”.

Finally, I would like to thank Paolo Lanciani, Davide Motta, Valeria Cardillo Piccolino and Nancy Cooklin for your inputs and thoughts along the journey in the past years.

This programme was designed as a four part workshop. The opening workshop set the scene and the closing workshop shared the findings of the session. The two middle workshops were exclusively for men - providing them a space to discuss, share and problem solve their varying perspectives on the topic.

Our host, Robert Baker, was the perfect choice for the programme, with his deep understanding of the topic and his wonderfully engaging presentation style. Rob also has, to his credit, the unique status of having been the only male PWN Global Board member over a 4-year period - an experience that we believe has helped him build a profound grasp of what it means to be an ambassador for gender balanced leadership.

Here's what he posted in his recent LinkedIN article:

It was a real pleasure to lead two workshops focussed on Engaging Men in gender equity in Milan. Hosted by PWN Milan and sponsored by Arkadia Translations, the afternoon workshop was for men only, focussing on how they can become inclusive leaders in a gender balanced environment. We had fabulous interaction with these men and Bruno Antonini spoke passionately about his experience of being a male ally in the workplace and at home.

The evening session included men and women, exploring how we can work together to build impact. We had a great panel session, with Christian Altomare, Katya Aricci and Alberto Mariotti Cesarini Romaldi each explaining what they were doing personally to advance gender balance and how their organisations were supporting them.

The breakout sessions that folllowed were rich in discussion and ideas on how we can partner for faster progress on gender equity. The key conclusions were:

  • We need to be curious and learn about others’ lived experiences, both in the workplace and at home.
  • We do need to involve men in the movement for gender balance, as they have a large share of the leadership and management roles.
  • We must help men see the advantages to them of participating in gender balance. Diverse teams can help them achieve their business goals and they have the opportunity to liberate themselves from traditional male stereotypes eg as the “breadwinner” which we all agreed, is a tough ask in Italy!
  • We need a new paradigm, where men feel free to take on take on roles that have been largely fulfilled by women, eg caregivers.
  • We should co-create the workplace together so that it fits optimally for all genders.
  • We need a culture of inclusion in organisations to give everyone a voice, and to support leaders who want to lead inclusively.
  • Companies need to provide flexible roles and shared parental leave for all, including men. Leaders need to role model and show men in their organisation that it is perfectly acceptable to make use of these policies.
  • The work in gender balance needs to start at home, with the education of children that there are no limitations on them, whatever their gender.

I hope you find our conclusions of interest and can apply them in your organisation.

PWN Milan is thrilled to have been able to bring this important topic to the forefront, and we hope that we are able to share this programme with our other PWN City Networks around the world. We're curious to see what cultural differences we can unearth as we continue this journey. 


Date: April 2023
Author: Gini Dupasquier, President, PWN Milan and Rob Baker, CEO, Potentia Talent Consulting
Editor: Rebecca Fountain, The Marketing Fountain

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