Hyland’s gender equality workshop drives conversation and new understandings What an employee resource group learned from gender equality advocates

 

Gender equality is on the agenda for Hyland’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) team. Recently, an employee resource group, Women in Networking (WIN) EMEA, brought the concept to the forefront at a workshop aiming to engage more male colleagues into the fight for gender equality.

Here’s the story, from Anett Donath, a Hyland Sales Academy strategist and committee member at HylandWIN EMEA.


Last week HylandWIN EMEA hosted the workshop, Getting men involved in gender equality. While HylandWIN is concentrating on supporting women with their professional as well as personal development, the EMEA chapter is focusing this year on the overall topic EQUALITY and therefore also wants to engage more male co-workers in HylandWIN EMEA to get a broader support.

Rianna Chauhan, a professional services summer intern based in the UK, spearheaded the workshop. To kick things off, she introduced the work of Michael Kimmel, dubbed by The Guardian as “the world’s most prominent male feminist,” and known for his 2015 viral TedTalk, Why gender equality is good for everyone — men included. In his talk, he explained why gender equality is good for everyone — men and businesses included.

 

Next, Rianna brought in our panelists: Tim Hood, Hyland’s vice president of EMEA and Asia-Pacific (APAC) and executive sponsor of HylandWIN EMEA; Javier Grandio, a Hyland sales solution engineer and member of HylandWIN EMEA; and Kelly Lewis, a senior solutions consultant at Xoomworks.

The first question posed to the panel was:
What does gender equality mean to you?

All three mentioned that gender equality is important to them because it’s important to have a mix of gender and culture in every team and every company. This diversity enriches the daily business.

Tim mentioned that he is looking for gender equality in his teams because he is in a leadership position, and “that gives you a broader balance of ideas, and also balances out the different personality traits that we often associate with men and women.”

He went on to say that his role model on this is one of his previous managers — a woman who stepped in for equality even in more male-biased departments.

Javier, on the other hand, finds it frustrating that we’re still fighting for equal rights in companies, as well as society, even when the concept is already manifested in many areas. The UN-Charta, for example, reaffirms “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small …”

Javier joined HylandWIN EMEA to be a supporter within the company and to stand strong behind the vision of equality within Hyland.

Kelly related a story about her experience starting her family. Her current employer was very open for an adjusted work-life balance after Kelly had her first child. In the beginning, she wondered how being a parent would affect her career, but her manager and company agreed on a reduced four-day week so she could spend three days with her family. Her company kept an employee with years of experience, and Kelly kept her career and balanced that with her family, which made her even more loyal to the company than she had been before.

A screenshot of the Hyland Women In Networking EMEA group's workshop meeting to discuss gender equality.

The next discussion point:
What role do men play in gender equality?

Tim: If you go to the stats of roughly 50:50 men and women, everyone needs to kind of buy in and make sure we’re committed across the board. Men also should take part in groups like HylandWIN, as you don’t know the things you don’t know — being aware of those sub-conscious prejudices or being made aware of that is really important.

Javier: We can’t have gender equality if men are not engaged in that topic. We are roughly 50 percent men and 50 percent women on earth; therefore, we need to have the same way to make gender equality in society and business as effective as possible. We have to educate ourselves each and every day on our behavior towards other people in society. Machoism or sexism is something we were raised up with due to our “male” education, but why shouldn’t women have the same rights as men? Why should being a female solution consultant be not as good as her male counterpart?

Kelly answered: I’ve realized in my career that once women have proven their skills and knowledge, they are welcomed to meetings and projects. Therefore, we need male advocates for women to support them and give them that first chance to prove themselves.

The ongoing discussion also included experiences from the attendees of the workshop, which coincidentally was about 50 percent male and 50 percent female. This showed that this topic is not only important to the current members of HylandWIN EMEA but also to many more people here at Hyland.

As a conclusion of this workshop, the HylandWIN EMEA committee will remain focused with additional activities on gender equality.

Want to read more about Hyland’s WIN groups across the globe? Check out more stories about WIN here.

Anett Donath

Anett Donath is a Hyland Sales Academy strategist who works remotely from Vienna, Austria.

... read more about: Anett Donath

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