What Can Men Do? Be Open, Amplify, Give Props & Speak up


“What can men do?” Was a question asked at last year’s #HealthITChicks meetup at the HIMSS annual conference during a discussion about the gender pay gap in our industry.     This question has rattled around in my head all year.    What can men do?   What can we all do?     What really makes a difference, and what becomes a distraction?    

Conversations about gender equality & gender equity can often be divisive, but they do not have to be.    While preparing for the HIMSS17 Annual Conference I have been thinking a lot about what specifically people can do this week and I have put together a few ideas.  

1.     Be Open:   Many of the ways gender dynamics play out today are subtle, it is easy to miss them when they are not happening to you – but hard to forget when it is your experience.     Be open to hearing the experiences of others.

2.     Amplify:   This is a strategy that was outlined in the Washington post that Women in the white house used to ensure their voices were heard & credit was given for their ideas.       The concept is simple – When a woman makes a key point, others would repeat it, giving credit to its author.   

3.     Give Props:   One of my favorite friends, who also happens to be stunning – tells me that she often has men in business situations comment on her appearance.    One of her male co-workers has seen this happen enough times, that he now introduces her with props “You should really meet _____, she is the smartest person I have ever met”  

4.     Speak Up:   We’ve all been there, right?  You’re in mixed company and someone makes an off color comment or joke and you don’t really know this person and you’re trying to do business with them so you just smile and hope the moment will move on.   You don’t want to call someone out or be rude – but often a gentle comment can let the person know they have stepped over a line.   Instead of smiling and laughing, try simply saying “Not Cool, Man” and then bring the topic back around to business.

So four things, that’s not so hard right?     I challenge you to give it a shot this week at HIMSS and would love to know what your experiences are.