As we continue to build a community of women in male-dominated industries and finalize plans for the Empowering Women in Industry Conference & Gala, I can’t forget about the 79% of our audience that are men. I want to assure you that shining the spotlight on women in industry will only increase value to you and your organizations. It does not devalue men. The end goal is a Diverse workforce. However, to get there, we must build a more inviting space to be more inclusive; diversity only works when coupled with inclusivity. And inclusivity works both ways.
Just this week, as I planned my #IWD2019 event, I asked a few men to attend. I got responses like “I don’t want to be in the minority” and “I would stick out like a sore thumb there.” This is the same feeling women have when they are the only woman in the room. It is their passion for this industry and professional goals that drive them forward and over the obstacles which sometimes unintentionally get anchored in front of them. Through my research and life experiences, I know there is a need for a “women supporting women” environment. In a male-dominated industry, this is harder to find.
On a positive note, I have found close to 400 women in my network (when I originally thought it was more like 20) who are actively seeking this supportive network. What we focus on is what we see! My network ratio has always been 80/20 male. We just experienced a 1% change because I focused on connecting with women… I am focused on building role models for our industry and our children. And I need your help. So, you might feel a little uncomfortable, but know that supporting this initiative is better in the long run. Many women who have a passion for building and problem solving feel uncomfortable and alone most days on the job, so let’s start showing our support for them.