Gender Equality is Men's Priority Too!
I have been a member of the ON Semiconductor Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) since joining the Company in 2017. WLI is one of the seven employee-led affinity network groups used to create an inclusive and diverse culture at ON Semiconductor. The mission of WLI is to empower and support women to succeed through professional development in business, strategic and financial acumen. Recently, I joined on the strategic marketing subcommittee, driving WLI’s marketing initiatives.
In recent years, there has been considerable progress towards gender equality. For example, in politics, we have witnessed trailblazing campaigns by Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi, among others. In professional sports, the U.S. women’s soccer team has cast the national spotlight on unequal pay, the WNBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement gives players substantial increases in compensation and progressive benefits. The San Francisco 49ers coach, Katie Sowers, became the first women coach in Super Bowl history. In the tech world, women have assumed the top leadership roles at peer companies, including IBM (CEO Ginni Rometty), YouTube (CEO Susan Wojcicki) and Oracle (CEO Safra Catz); as a result, overall visibility for diversity and inclusion has increased.
During my tenure at ON Semiconductor, I have witnessed our leaders place increasing importance on the value of diversity and inclusion, adding specific diversity metrics to our corporate bonus program. Earlier this year, Bloomberg announced that ON Semiconductor was added to the 2020 Gender Equality Index (GEI), as one of 325 companies included, basing it on our overall performance across the framework’s five pillars: women leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies and pro-women brand. In response, president and CEO Keith Jackson expounded, “It is an honor to be leading a company that continuously strives for gender equality in such a competitive marketplace and in the world that we live in today.” Today, 44% of our employees are women on a global scale across all grade levels, and our rate of new hires is 37% women.
For men, gender equality is equally important to take part in! Men should advocate for women as much as women advocate for themselves. If enough men and women express a desire for change, it will create an environment of a broader transformation.
How can men advocate for women? Here are a few things you can do today:
1. Educate yourself on the gender-specific challenges women face! I challenged myself in 2019 to read more in order to expose myself further to different perspectives. By proactively seeking to understand other perspectives, we naturally become more inclusive. I recommend the following books to better understand and support women empowerment and gender equality:
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World (Melinda Gates)
- Becoming (Michelle Obama)
- Educated (Tara Westover)
- Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Kristen Hadeed)
- WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game (Abby Wambach)
- Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley (Emily Chang)
2. Sponsor a woman! In Women in the Workplace 2019, McKinsey & Company explains the “broken rung” as the key obstacle women face early in their careers: the step from entry-level to management. By fostering a culture of fairness and diversity, and focusing on this “broken rung,” companies can move towards true gender equality. Sponsorship is a key element to promoting workplace fairness, and it accelerates career advancement. Through sponsorship, women can receive the network, air cover, experience, and advocacy needed to be ready for management roles. Approach a woman on your team or in your network; seek to share learnings with them and learn from them.
3. Step up outside of work! My wife and I have been married for almost four years, and we recently gave birth to our firstborn, Merit William Harvey (February 13th, 2020). My wife works fulltime and is also the leading caregiver to our son and dog, Cambi. Despite my very best efforts, my wife takes on a disproportional split of unpaid work (cooking, cleaning, childcare, etc.) in our household. She is not alone! Globally, on average, women spend twice as many hours doing unpaid labor compared to men, and this discrepancy equates to seven years over a lifetime. Men can make every effort to step up and lead when it comes to the household, but the systematic and perpetual problem of unequal unpaid work cannot be ignored!
4. Listen and observe gender micro-inequities in your workplace! Throughout my professional career, I have had the opportunity to work with many women, which has given me the opportunity to witness firsthand the daily workplace obstacles they can face. I have seen candid, action-oriented women mislabeled as “bossy or mean,” impacted by the “likability biases.” I have witnessed women colleagues talked over in meetings, excluded from social situations, omitted from sports conversations, referred to as “guys,” and had their ideas discounted. I challenge you to listen and observe in your daily life; you will notice these examples too. If you witness one, speak up. Bring visibility to the micro-inequity to increase your colleagues’ visibility as well. Look for opportunities to champion your women colleagues instead.
Men need and can be allies to women by taking an active role and speaking up regarding gender equality! Engage, understand, sponsor, and get involved! A diverse and inclusive workplace is better for everyone, and it is our job to help women break through walls to create successful career paths for future generations!
Learn more about ON Semiconductor’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion.