- Recognize Biased Assumptions about Leadership
- Recognize & Stop Microaggressions
- Challenge tokenism & an end to ‘Manels’
Ally Toolkit to Support Men as Allies
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.