Powerful Men and the Bystander Effect

Gender parity is not a women’s issue. It is an economic issue.

Gender parity is not a women’s issue. It is an economic issue, to say the least, that touches each of us — men and women alike. Numerous studies, including those completed by Morgan Stanley and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, show that a greater balance in boardrooms and in C-suite levels contribute directly to increased returns in addition to more robust diversity across skill sets, thought processes and the like. Businesses literally profit from advancing women through the ranks.

The number of women on boards isn’t a pipeline problem, but a “who you know” problem.

At Athena Alliance, we know the number of women on boards isn’t a pipeline problem, but a “who you know” problem. Our primary goal faces this issue head on and puts boards in need in contact with women who can benefit them. But we can’t do all the work. Men on boards (and women, too), let us know when you have open seats!

If all men in power are sure that others will do the work to advance women to boards, 83% of board members will not act. We need you to be the bystander who starts the movement.

Men are in a uniquely formidable role here, in that, as individuals of power, you can advocate for whomever you see fit without fear of your suggestion not being valid. Women and minority figures do not have this benefit, as Johnson and Hekman revealed in their Harvard Business Review article, which shows that women and people of color are often viewed in negative light when they advocate for other women and people of color. On the contrary, as trusted authorities in the business realm, white male leaders are free to recommend and sponsor anyone of any race or gender without repercussion. This is exactly why your participation in sponsoring and helping eligible women is imperative.

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Athena Alliance

Athena Alliance

Activating the connections, knowledge, & opportunities women executives need to lead at their highest level of impact. Learn more: athenaalliance.com