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   Ally Toolkit to Support Men as Allies

Why is Allyship Necessary?

Male allies recognise that being male is a privileged position in our gender system. Additionally, white, settler, cis-gender, heterosexual, and non-disabled are privileged positions. As a result of this privilege, there is a gender leadership gap.

In the overview video to the Empowering Women Leaders in Health initiative, we outline the different dimensions of the gender leadership gap in Canada and some of the  reasons why men need to be involved as allies. 

Andre Picard, Health Columnist with the Globe and Mail describes the gender leadership gap he sees in health care: “ If you look at who works in health care’ it’s dominated by women … but as you move up the ladder that disappears. It becomes predominantly male. And we know all the cultural, social and economic reasons for that but it doesn’t make it acceptable.

 

A photo of Globe and Mail Health Columnist, Andre Picard reads ‘If you look at who works in health care’ it’s dominated by women … but as you move up the ladder that disappears. It becomes predominantly male. And we know all the cultural, social and economic reasons for that but it doesn’t make it acceptable.’

In the case of academic health sciences, Executive Medical Director of the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders, Dr. Johny van Aerde, highlights evidence that, “ The chances of getting a grant are lower when you are a woman and … even the chances of getting a paper accepted depends on the name you have on it. Now in academia, everything else being equal, … if we want to respect ourselves as academicians, that’s just not acceptable.

A photo of Executive Medical Director of the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders, Dr. Johny van Aerde is accompanied by the following quote:  “The chances of getting a grant are lower when you are a woman and … even the chances of getting a paper accepted depends on the name you have on it. Now in academia, everything else being equal, … if we want to respect ourselves as academicians, that’s just not acceptable.”

There are important implications of the gender leadership gap for women. As Dr. Johny van Aerde later adds, “ distributed leadership becomes so rich with as much diversity as possible.” Furthermore, as Graham Dickson, Research Advisor to the Canadian Health Leadership Network, argues “ It is so that they [women] can see themselves and know that their perspectives, their viewpoint has at least been considered in the decisions being made.” He argues further in the following quote: “ If you’re in a patriarchal system, designed in a patriarchal way, and run only by men, then I could see [women] really losing interest.

A photo of Canadian Health Leadership Research Advisor, Graham Dickson, reads ‘If you’re in a patriarchal system, designed in a patriarchal way, and run only by men, then I could see [women] really losing interest.’

How Men Can Become Better Allies to Women argues that without the support of men, progress toward ending the gender leadership gap is unlikely. This article outlines additional evidence in support of men’s deliberate engagement in gender inclusive leadership programs and how men need to be involved. As the tweet below emphasizes, “ Men, we need you to be allies and speak out against gender-based discrimination.”

The image is a tweet by Dr Ruth Schmidt on October 30th, 2018. The tweet reads: “Men need to continue to listen to the voices and experiences of women. We need to do a lot of soul searching, and we must speak out.” Men, we need you to be allies and speak out against gender-based discrimination. Don't be passive! There is a retweet by Empowering Women Leaders in Health which reads: More tips on how to be an ally #heforshe

Have a look at the full video, ‘ HOW TO BE AN ALLY AND WHY’ to see men who are working on their allyship, Andre Picard, Bill Tholl, Graham Dickson and Johny van Aerde, describe why it's important to recognize and do something about the gender leadership gap in health.

It is important to note that the inequity experienced by women leaders is not just an equity issue, it is critical for good patient care. The following article How Discrimination Against Female Doctors Hurts Patients, Myers and Sutcliffe summarize evidence which suggests that female physicians bring unique perspectives to their practice, engage in more preventative care and more-effective doctor-patient communication that can improve care. They argue that “ In light of this evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that any practice, bias, or treatment that keeps women from entering and advancing in medicine is actually denying patients opportunities to receive higher-quality care.”

The image is a rectangular cover-page graphic of an article published by the Harvard Business Review. On the left side of the image is an abstract graphic of a woman’s side profile with colourful swirling shapes and lines. On the right side, there is black lettering on a white background. The text states the article title, authors, and date of publication: How Discrimination Against Female Doctors Hurts Patients. By Christopher G. Meyers and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, August 30th, 2018.

It is one of the reasons why the past President of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Gigi Osler, states that she will continue to speak out for gender equity, because it directly relates to patient care.

The image contains a blue and purple textbox with Dr Gigi Osler’s headshot, along with her title: Past President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), ENT Surgeon. The text continues below: “ I am here to continue to speak for gender equity because I think it relates back to patient care… Because to do nothing, now knowing about gender inequities, knowing about the worst patient outcomes, to do nothing means to perpetuate a system where patients are denied better quality care because of structural gender bias”.



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