49 Comments
Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Thanks so much for this thread Matt. I feel heard! (Which is tip #1 for how men can be better allies.).

There is a lot that can be done to make the outdoors - and just society - better for women, perhaps the biggest step men can take is publicly admitting there is a problem and then taking responsibility. It’s all to easy to think “but I’m one of the “good guys” so this doesn’t relate to me”, but it’s the lack of action from the “Good Guys” that is perpetuating the misogyny that we still see and experience daily. So if you’re a “Good Guy” then here are a few ways to start.

1. Ask the women in your life about their experience. And really listen. Don’t listen to solve or to make them wrong.

2. Start noticing how women are minimised or erased from society. Look at the credits of your tv shows, what % are women? Look at the leaders of the big organisations, what % are women? Just start noticing.

3. Read up on the issues. “Women’s rights” affect men too. (Start with Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez)

4. Vote for parties and leaders that care about women’s rights (if you’re in the US, you should be terrified about what is happening)

5. At work, advocate for women “of child bearing age” and young mothers. Your future pension depends on them.

6. Do the heavy lifting. Allyship means you get involved and don’t expect the women to do all the work in fixing the system. You need to speak up, use your privilege, and make it your issue too.

Excited to see what other ways men can be better allies too.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

There needs to be better representation across the board - something we can all help bring about.

And it's not as hard as some folks in the industry would have you believe.

From ensuring pitch decks have women at the forefront, to hiring female photographers and creatives - rather than going to the same old blokes who often get the bulk of the work.

There are amazing women creatives out there....but sometimes they are harder to find because they have not been given the same opportunities as men, and when they get those briefs they smash it out of the park, with fresh thinking and new perspectives.

The days of action sports and the outdoors being full of bros are well and truly over, and the brands and campaigns need to reflect this.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Thanks for starting this thread Matt!

Please call out when there are little or no women in decision-making rooms or around board tables. Notice the lack of representation and make others aware of it.

Similarly if you are organising event speakers, panels, interviewees then make sure there are women’s voices in there.

Support truly flexible working and campaigns for better childcare infrastructure - this isn’t just about women it’s about parents and anyone in caring roles. It helps us all.

And please, please don’t call us feisty, difficult, intimidating etc etc if we voice ideas or opinions that differ from yours. If it’s not a term you’d use to describe a man at work then it probably isn’t ok to use it!

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Mar 21·edited Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

It starts with not just listening, but ACTIVELY listening to women’s perspectives. Listen sincerely. Listen empathetically. Listen without interrupting. It’s how you build trust and respect.

More men need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Silent players are not helpful. Women need men to commit to learning about and advocating for gender equality; it might make you feel shameful or even a part of the problem, but the first step is to take a long, hard look at things you might have said or done in the past. Only then can change begin to happen, through more interaction, more communication, and more learning - not less. A change that will amplify female voices, acknowledge that our experiences are real, and arm more men with the knowledge they need to educate their own male peers.

Hire more women. Pay more women. Respect women.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

I find language like "we want to hire more women" quite unhelpful, as it can sound like we're being hired to close the gender gap, rather than recognising what we bring to the table. So rather than treating us as a solution to a political issue, treat us like the equals that we are. That's of course not to say we should ignore that men and women do have some different strengths and qualities, but recognise and harness these as part of the whole picture. More equally gender represented companies generally doing better, financially and culturally. So it would be great to see this one day being a natural state, rather than a point to be made.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Please watch this documentary by Ellie Flynn: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/undercover-sexual-harassment-the-truth - and share it with all your male friends, urge them to watch it and talk about what you saw together. I watched this documentary together with my partner, who despite being 30 years old was absolutely shocked at the experiences he witnessed. Sadly I wasn't shocked as the experiences depicted are so familiar to being a woman out after dark (how crazy that we have different experiences when it's dark outside?!).

Also remember that despite how well you treat women - this isn't always the treatment that we have experienced. A woman's lived experience is very different from what you might expect, so be sensitive to how she reacts or responds to situations.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Super interesting one Matt!!! Wow! And a huge question. I think being a man in a group of other men and not being afraid to call out the one or two (or more) that may be talking/jeering and having that “banter” out is essential to actually changing the societal inequalities, expectations and roles. Advocating for women and girls in a genuine and honest way in any scenario gets my vote. Read lots on not only the inequality experienced by women and girls but also the importance of engagement young men and boys into the genuine acts and needs for allyship in every marginalized group to help discourage them from seeking allyship to their own gaps of role models from the likes of the Andrew Tates of the world. I think women and girls need men to be allies to young men and boys to help grow a future where ally ship isn’t needed as we all just “are”!!!

I live in perpetual hope I know

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

This is a very important question. Thanks for giving it space! I resonate with all the great comments below.

As well as working hard to support the real opportunities for women to be heard and to be part of the 'discussion', in order to get the most from the potential held in collaborative approaches, there must be an accommodation of different ways of working and different ways of 'being'. Supporting women into existing environments and then expecting them to behave (and and think) as you would expect the men you know who do the same kind of roles or work in the same field won't help move things forward. Accommodating very different ways of working, thinking, feeling, doing and being and the learning that comes from doing the accommodating, including how 'success' and 'excellence' are defined and measured, is a very important part of the picture and one that needs supported by everyone.

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Would love to see more men comment and share their thoughts. This is a re-occurring theme when it comes to this topic - lots of women advocating for other women and shouting loud about it from the rooftops, while men stay silent. Please help amplify our voices and join the discussion.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

So many good comments here (especially the points about sitting in discomfort and, sometimes, shame). Being an ally is not just about supporting women to be part of a existing systems. It's about being part of the move to dismantle, or at least, reorganise power in these systems. When these systems seem to suit you, this can feel like giving something up or making a sacrifice. But it's not. Because while existing systems certainly create unequal opportunities, ultimately they don't really benefit anyone at all. I read something the other day (and while I recall it was an First Nations woman in Australia I'm very, very sorry to say that I forgot to note down whose words they were), about how "fighting for my liberation is to fight for your own". Other folk have said similar things about being an ally, a comrade, or about becoming kin, but it really is true.

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Mar 21·edited Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Better than hearing my POV, I asked two of the most important and capable women in my life: My amazing wife, and my very capable daughter, both breaking boundaries on a daily basis. Will report back after I listen and absorb.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

All of the above comments x1000. Men need to recognize how much space they take up. Everywhere. Physical. Emotionally. In media and entertainment, in sports, in banking, in bars, in conversations, in conferences. Women are half the population we need to be taking up half the public space. Men have no idea what that looks like and when they do see women, non-binary, and trans women only panels, films, books, magazine articles, etc, they label it as ‘women’s panel’, a ‘chick flick’, etc. And they assume it won’t interest them. They don’t have to stay because it’s usually one panel out of a conference. They don’t read the book/ magazine because they have choices. Outside magazine used to be the only outdoor magazine, it only reviewed men’s gear. The features were all men. It was a men’s magazine. Women read it. Men need to start stepping aside. Sitting down and suggesting women and trans women in their place whenever possible is how things change. For generations we have been sitting in male dominated spaces, watching and reading men’s stories, watching men read and research the news, and it’s just movies, books, news, research. Where it’s exceptionally dangerous is in the policing and law and political and justice sectors. But it’s not a silo. These all overlap. If our stories and entertainment and outdoor spaces are lensed through men it informs the systems that make laws and police women, nonbinary, and trans women. Outdoor industry, sports, and media, play a role in shaping and/or reinforcing culture in the larger society.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

One of the most important aspects for me of launching Like the Wind magazine with my wife - co-founder, equal in every decision - is realising how little I understand about other people's experiences. Inviting people to write for the magazine has opened my eyes to realities that I never even considered. Just one example: the woman who wrote a piece about the loss she feels when the clocks 'go back' every year which means it gets darker earlier and therefore she can't as easily go for a run. I had no idea that was an issue - it had never crossed my mind. Now that we have published something like 900 stories about running in the magazine, I have had 900 opportunities to glimpse the world through the eyes of people unlike me. And for that I am hugely grateful. What I know I have to do now is take what I am learning (and will forever be learning) and work out how to be part of the solution. It isn't easy. But it is probably the most important thing I can do.

Thanks to Matt for taking the initiative to host this discussion. With more people doing more things like this, there is a chance that we can redress the imbalance that has existed for so long.

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Great thread! Would love to hear more on how men think men can be better allies too...

Where I work (outdoor/sailing industry), we have an even split of men and women across the business, and 60% of the senior leadership team are women. I've been thinking of how men can be better allies in the workplace, but to be honest, it's hard to pinpoint because I guess having more women has naturally created a really positive atmosphere in the workplace, where I feel empowered and that I have a strong voice. So yeah, proof is in the pudding really!

In terms of outside of work, especially within outdoor sports I do think that there is a lot that can be done to make this space better for women.

Anecdotally, I recently went surfing, and two things really struck me: firstly- two men continued to chat whilst a female instructor gave a safety brief- I think this kind of encapsulates the sort of behaviour that happens day to day, and probably without even thinking, that men really need to re-address.

On the flipside, during my session I was the only female in a group of around 15 men (not including those who chatted through the safety brief) and I was very aware of the self-doubt I felt about whether I belonged. Regardless, I got over this pretty quick when I started chatting with some of the surfers, and had nothing but positive interactions- I was never made to feel like I shouldn't be there and had some good chat and laughter about ballsing up take-offs etc. Bit of a ramble, but just wanted to highlight two experiences that show behaviour that can help or hinder how a woman feels. Less of the former, more of the latter. :)

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Single most impactful action for men is to explore and take ownership of their inner emotional experience (seek out books, podcasts, support...this type of healing is rarely done alone). Actively make more room for women of all ages, races, sexual orientations to be seen and heard. The feeling of simply being witnessed is really powerful. Get curious about the female experience, not just in how we’ve been mistreated, but in how we want to be treated, how we view the world, how we operate differently. This helps move away from a male-centric way of life we’ve all grown up with that shows up in the most subtle dynamics. Invite women to lead projects, they will teach you things you didn’t know you needed to learn. Be compassionate with yourself as you uncover new learnings, it’s ok to ask women to be compassionate with you too. These are tender topics, best if we can all move gently as we unpack centuries of imbalance.

Read the book ‘All About Love’ by Bell Hooks to really blow your goggles off....

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Mar 21·edited Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Working for a while in this industry, I've got three things I always come back to (I'm a broken record!):

1. If you're finding it hard to hire women in a particular role, you may need to be looking harder/further/somewhere else. Go looking for them, rather than waiting for them to find their way to you.

2. In a professional setting, please don't ever refer to "the girls". Creating a position of respect, being taken seriously, and being seen equally take up a lot of energy and effort. Don't undo that with a small slip of the tongue.

3. Think carefully about labeling something "women's". Are they "women's" skis or... skis? Is this "women's racing" or... racing? Do it if it means something, but don't if it doesn't. Choice of words can go a long way to how things are perceived, embraced, and enjoyed by everyone.

And one more thing... always encourage the women around you to speak up (and stand up), and make sure to be the voice for them when they're not able to. It can be tough being the only woman in the room/project/discussion - so always give them the space too!

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Surely this is a very good time and place to not take up space commenting, and to shut up read and act on the advice here out in the real world. Everything we need to know (and read) to be a real ally is in these comments.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

I have just found this podcast The Game Changers - He for She

We need Male allies !!!

https://podfollow.com/1464596772/episode/d1c27852f4946b4c97961541838c7d33dbafce26/view

p.s

a format of the podcast above its quite irritating ..

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

Nice one for raising this Matt. As is often the case there’s a resounding silence from the guys matched only by the lack of male participation in women’s day events or just generally events which focus on issues pertained to be ‘women’s’ on every other day of the year. 🤷‍♂️

I won’t claim to have the answers, I believe there are many elements and behaviors in a process of becoming an ally. Some of them could be: Actively listening, recognizing and trying understand your privilege, doing actual bias training, mentoring, asking questions, calling in bad behaviour, being vulnerable in not having to know the answer all the goddamn time, giving space, not being a creep. Plus of course everything in all the other comments. 🙌

Men often seem to feel that equality = giving up their position. In fact it’s incredibly empowering and humbling to start on any journey of allyship and can lead to a lot of awesomeness. Plus everything is better with diverse input and opinions.

I recognize your discomfort in asking the question - I did so a while back on a Beam (remember Beams?) and found the process to be quite amazing and scary and who am I to … etc etc. but bravo to you for diving in. More of that 👏

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Mar 21·edited Mar 22Liked by Matthew Barr

This is a very interesting thread. My profession (veterinary medicine) is female dominated and I have been very lucky to be a front row spectator/pupil of what women have to put up with in their day to day.

Then luck smiled upon me once again 6 years ago and gave me a baby girl. A carbon copy of her mum: smart, independent and strong. And something amazing happened. I became even more aware of how much needs changing.

I think there is loads to do and men still need to open our minds, and sometimes close our mouths.

What I feel is that very few "non educated" men will read this thread or anything to do with feminism and equality. I don't know how to reach the group of population that really needs to be reached.

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Mar 21Liked by Matthew Barr

I've read the thread, I've nodded, I've gazed wide eyed at some of the experiences (not in disbelief but in embarrassment for men), I've learned and it has given me a lot of food for thought and research, so thank you every one.

I have tried to be a good 'man' to the women in my life even when I was a lot younger but I have had a lot of misogynistic influences to battle with: my father is a Neanderthal and the epitome of misogynism; school wasn't much better; working as a tradesman (you can imagine); military (men only). None of these are excuses or reasons to justify the disparity between the sexes, maybe just highlighting the system. Fortunately, I was brought up mainly by a single mum so I don't have an overhanging brow.

I have watched the documentary Charley G mentioned and I look back at me being out with groups of guys or maybe even alone and wonder if I caused that anxiety / fear to a women without even knowing it. When I'd like to think that me being there should of helped to make her safer, not because I'm some bouncer type lad but that I'm not that guy but she would never have known that. A totally hypothetical scenario but possible and I won't be alone there.

My cousin, Nicola, told me I got the kid I deserved. Not in a bad way because she used to get home without feeling threatened because of me and my mates. But having a now 13 y/o young women, I have thought of every scenario (more after watching the doc) where she may be at risk or feel uncomfortable at the extreme end (don't get me started on boys, but men need to be better fathers to sons) and how she needs to be shown that she can push back and put across her opinion. I recently told her that she could challenge her teachers if she felt strongly enough about it and myself and her mother would support her. I try to be her best male ally / advocate. And I've told her she is to call me out if any chauvinism creeps out. When she finds her voice and the confidence that bubbles inside her and the self-conscious teenage angst falls away she will be force to be reckoned with.

From an outdoor industry perspective, the issue definitely exists and as a middle aged, bearded white bloke I look around and see 'me' everywhere. It is getting better but not quick enough. I very recently looked at gear review teams on other platforms and there is a severe lack of female contributors. In past year or so I have actively sought out reviewers for womens kit. Don't get me wrong I still want to be part of the action but I have / will / and will continue to leave more space for others.

So after my ramble I'll try and answer the question from my perspective, how can men be better allies to women, or how can I be a better ally to women? I constantly check myself when I think about things, the 'pussy' & 'balls' analogy I saw a couple of months ago is 100% right IMO. The female organs are badass and that's where babies come from. Testicles are rubbish in the cold and their tolerance to pain! Men are bad drivers too! On a little bit of a defensive note, we can strut around with bravado and ego, in the main, it's a show ; a front that we use as a defence mechanism that we have been shown and taught, I am completely guilty of this.

I will continue to improve, I will do better at calling out other males. I think I am good at listening, but I will try harder to be actively better at it. Someone mentioned men don't have to fix it, they just have to listen (I paraphrase), I am guilty of trying to fix things I want to help, be part of the solution but from the side-lines. My 'kinds' (see above for description) time is over, that makes me a little sad for me selfishly. It makes me very glad though for the future.

note: I am very concerned about some of my rambling language / tone, it comes from a supportive place but please feel free to call me out

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Mar 22Liked by Matthew Barr

Tokenism is something I see action sports do in their attempts to bring more representation (of not just women but also BIPOC and queer folks). Having just one person of each marginalized identity is not enough, especially if they're not getting the same pay, prime video spots, or decision-making roles. Taylor Lundquist brought it up on her Bomb Hole interview where she was the only woman in Real Ski, and it's unfair for women to just get one spot and we know women don't usually have the same resources to make an edit. Representation can't be just a single person, and it also can't be just one type of athlete. We have to support the non-contest athletes and yes, even the influencers. Plus companies can't just sponsor one type of femininity like how skateboarding did before it embraced the tomboys and genderqueer skaters.

In the same interview with Taylor, Chris Grenier added that maybe one year, the men could take a break and it all just be a Real Ski or Snow with women, which is a great suggestion for how to be an ally. That's something we in the burlesque and drag worlds have been doing to give Black and indigenous and/or trans performers more opportunities. I've realized that I don't need to be in every show, and I'll try to pass along audition information to performers of marginalized identities. Sometimes just having new faces will freshen up an event or bring a new market.

My last suggestion is a small one, but sometimes the littlest change can make a difference to someone trying to get respect. I still hear people in action sports use "females" as a synonym for "women", and most women I know consider it demeaning because of its association with anatomy and reproduction (we still use it in scientific research but subjects tend of be dehumanized). I'm sure "females" comes from shortening "female athletes", but the word has been abused by misogynists that it's something to move away from.

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Loving reading all the comments, brilliant insights, links - thanks to Matt for opening up the space.

My two-pence worth:

1. In the home, men could fully support women with the dreaded ‘mental load’ and view that as an equal workload, freeing women’s energies to focus on the other elements of their lives and not just domestic admin. Men could actively support this, rather than being pushed along as is the current status quo. 


2. In business/work, men could give women more space to talk up, hold the room, develop their voice. It may or may not be as loud as their male counterparts, some of us (myself included) are still building confidence to make our voices heard. 
We've had years of being talked over and mansplained to overcome afterall!

3. In society, men could support female-orientated charities and put some money into the many amazing causes which are protecting women who have experienced unimaginable anguish and suffering. How about swapping your weekly coffee and donate to a Refuge instead? 


4. In the line up (and other sporting environments) men could simply smile and project a friendly atmosphere, make the whole paddling out environment a more welcoming place.

5. In life, everyone - men & women - could acknowledge our current, patriarchy-based systems are largely broken/ corrosive/corrupt. Water, Sewage, Energy, Health, Finance - you name it - it’s all messed up. 



As the brilliant Mary Portas puts it in the last Portas agency newsletter “we have a simple choice: mindful destruction or conscious and creative evolution. We need to transform the way we live, the way we buy, the way we sell, the way we eat, the way we travel. The list can go on. And that means transforming all the systems that have been put in place by a dominant patriarchy that has governed society for millennia. 

"



It’s time for a systematic reset, in politics and business - a reset that puts female & male alliance at the centre. 

 Mary Portas concludes the newsletter (which everyone reading this thread should sign up to) with a prophecy from a native people of North America - 

which talks about the Bird of Humanity.

For hundreds of years, the Bird of Humanity has been flying primarily with one wing, the masculine wing, causing it to become overly muscular, overdeveloped.

In fact, the wing has become violent in order to keep afloat, causing the Bird of Humanity to fly in circles and keep repeating the same path of flight.



They predict that the 21st century is when the female wing of the Bird of Humanity will fully extend and allow the male wing to relax, and instead of flying in circles, the Bird of Humanity will finally begin to soar. 


LINK TO PORTAS https://mailchi.mp/portasagency/we-need-to-keep-talking-this-matters?e=f2eaae421

Over & out xx

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I asked my kind, gentle, self-confessed woke leftie husband about this when I saw the post go up, and predictably, as we have seen throughout the thread, he didn't know what to say. When we were making our wedding rings a couple of years back, the jeweller who was teaching us said "in a world of toxic masculinity, Colin, you are a shining beacon of hope" which made us both smile, as he really is and I'm very lucky.

However, he is in a position of influence in a weekly group of young men - he runs a Boys Brigade group in an affluent area of Glasgow - and for me, he is in a prime position to informally educate young men on what I think is one of the most important issues of our lifetime.

I have given up talking to him and making suggestions about it. He nods, smiles, says yes I'm listening, I'm not ignoring you, but nothing happens. He just doesn't know how to go about it. As above, he is brilliant in every way but he also just doesn't know what to do, and is not one for putting himself out of his comfort zone (plus he already gives up hours of his valuable time to these kids!).

I wonder why the organisations involved don't take this on and give guidance or put it on the curriculum or whatever the hell would get it out there to these young minds who are dealing with all these issues, all while being bombarded by some pretty terrifying social media content. This is just one place where I think there is a massive missed opportunity to get the message through.

A couple of suggestions from me other than the others which have already been made about watching/listening to various podcasts, books etc.

If you haven't seen Prima Facie, watch it if you get the chance. It's sometimes available to watch online via the National Theatre, or on at cinemas. For those who don't know, it's a one woman show about a defence barrister who prides herself on her success rate dealing with rape trials. You can guess the rest. It's terrifying. Jodie Comer is incredible in it. It explores all the issues involved here and while it's not an easy watch, it is highly engaging and very memorable.

Seconding Aga's post above/below about The Game Changers as I think sport has a huge part to play too and the host Sue makes a point of including men in the discussion.

Lastly if you're not familiar with Rose Reilly's story then look this up too (whether you like football or not!) . There was a brilliant one woman show based on her life touring Scotland recently and I hope this story crosses the border as it's one that will leave you open mouthed, firstly as to how you didn't know about it, as well as at the sheer brilliance of her achievements and the sacrifices she had to make to live the life she wanted. I'm not from Scotland so thought it was just me that didn't know, but lots of Scots never knew either and it only started to hit the headlines when the Scottish team made the women's world cup finals a couple of years back.

Thanks Matt for this thread, I hope it's been thought provoking for those who haven't felt able to contribute anything.

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founding
Mar 24Liked by Matthew Barr

Guilty of not really knowing what to say here, other than thanks for opening the thread and for all the women's comments. Somewhere between the male fragility and "not wanting to say anything to take up space" – the easiest option by far seems to be to say nothing. And if that's in a space where male opinions are being actively encouraged literally right here, the idea of men speaking up about women's equality in an all-male environment unfortunately seems like a bit of a stretch. Clearly we have a very long way to go!

I'm also guilty of identifying (rightly or wrongly!) as 'a nice guy', and staying as clear as possibly from areas of toxic masculinity and bro culture, but obviously by not speaking up against that, and for women, we might as well condone it outright. Obviously. But it's good to remind ourselves of that here.

Finally – I've worked in 3 proper jobs over the years. Two which were 90% men and one which was about 70% women. Guess which ones were the shitty toxic environments and which one was an absolute thriving joy?

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Mar 24Liked by Matthew Barr

During a management meeting trip in my first month at a company, the MD and a country manager proceeded to tell me about all the prostitutes they'd had during a business trip to Japan. Nice. Not entirely sure about the motive behind them sharing this charming information. Perhaps they saw me as one of the lads, judging by the surprised looks on their faces when seeing my reaction (and them trying to backtrack). Or perhaps it was a misguided intimidation tactic. This was one of many signs of a traditional, macho corporate culture. I clearly didn't stick around for long.

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Hey, very much agree with the points made by Yvette and Francesca about men calling out the behaviour of other men in male-only spaces/whatsapp groups. Trying to install this in my (almost) 13 year-old at the moment but I can also see it's a big ask to constantly be the kid that stands up to the dominant teenage boy discourse at a time when you just want to fit in. Social media hasn't helped, nor Andrew Tate, as even though a lot of them will think they're smart enough to see through his persona, you can still hear it seeping into some of the stuff they say. And that even happens to the ones who aren't on social media that much. (This is the best piece I've read on the effects of Andrew Tate on teenage boys: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/andrew-tate-jail-investigation.html) Have said it before but I feel like trying to raise feminist boys who grow up to not be dicks is one of my biggest life goals!

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I hope it’s ok to double comment, but another distinction that I’ve found helpful when trying to break this stuff down is to consider natural differences in general approach. Masculine-style thinking is narrow, pointed, task-driven, and results-oriented while feminine-style thinking is nuanced, networked, multi-tasking, and process oriented. These two ways of being / working actually work really well together when they are co-operative and balanced. As one example, this translates to women being really good at laying overall strategy (because they are able to look at the big picture and connect a wider set of dots), while men can leverage that single focus energy to find ways to execute. When these are really out of balance, you can see the effects in corporate and team cultures…there is mostly siloed thinking at play and not a ton of emphasis on culture/how people are truly doing mentally and emotionally (because - how could that relate to getting things done?!). Similarly, women think more readily through a collaborative and relational lens, so managing people and teams is a good application of that. Recognizing some of this is socialization and some of it is honestly just natural orientation, but it also isn’t necessarily gender specific - we’re talking energy/approach that could apply to anyone exhibiting these qualities. I’m using binary language here for simplicity). I think getting curious about really clear patterns between these two approaches, while being open to individual experiences is also key.

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I think several people reading this thread are in a position in their workplaces where they can have an impact on hiring/negotiating, so here’s a very concrete tip on how to be an ally:

Equal pay.

Make sure that female hires or competitors are not underpaid just because they are women, which currently happens more or less as a rule. This is an easy fix with a large impact.

What we are grappling with is the innate “truth” that women are worth less than men. That belief has been hammered into all of us, whether we accept it or not, all our lives, and it’s difficult to get at. Throw the money at it!

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Oh, and if some of you have exciting and well paid jobs that regularly involve travelling, and you also have kids and a wife or girlfriend who takes care of them meanwhile? You’re probably grateful for that, so take some of the money from the cushy gig and put them into your wife’s personal retirement account. Tell your friends that they should too.

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Mar 25Liked by Matthew Barr

So much has been said already but maybe one actionable point is to make sure any company, community group, sports club, organisation that you are part of has up to date policies in places.

Whilst this sounds super stale, the (hopefully collaborative) process of researching, updating, re-writing something like a Menopause policy can help open up the topic to discussion and understanding across a whole organisation and is something that anyone at any level should confidently be able to ask for.

Is there a relevant Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy in place and if there isn't then ask for it to be put in place or updated. There are absolutely hundreds of short online courses centred around topics such as creating an inclusive culture, unconscious bias and EDI training that cost pennies -or better than that are free - so by asking more of those we work for or the organisations we are part of, change can be instigated.

The same can perhaps be said for revisiting company values. Organisations, companies, community groups, charities should all be responsible for nailing their colours to the mast. From my own experience of running a women-led boxing club, we are very vocal about what our values are in order to ensure we create a safe space for anyone (who is aligned with our values) to exercise. By being incredibly clear about who we are and what we do, we have created an environment where toxic masculinity, peacocking and other testosterone fuelled gym behaviour is absolutely non-existent in one of the most stereotypically male environments going. We are all allies in that space regardless of gender and we all benefit greatly from it.

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Ladies are out at Copper for USASA Nationals. Sorry for the delay. They said number one thing is "listen."

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