THE BLOG

Calling On All Men

07/03/2017 17:12 GMT | Updated 07/03/2017 17:12 GMT
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all women everywhere

Have you seen the film Eagle Huntress? It is about a 13-year old Aisholpan in Mongolia who becomes the first female champion eagle hunter having won a Strictly Come Dancing style vote against numerous men considerably older and more experienced than herself. Amazing? Yes, definitely. Equally interesting were her father and her grandfather, whose complete support enabled her to triumph over tradition. What was it about them that motivated them to challenge the status quo and risk the wrath of their communities?

I found myself thinking about this film when I was giving a presentation recently at a large conference about women and work. As at so many events about women that I attend, the audience was probably 90% female. It is great that women themselves now know that their voices can be heard, that there are events at which they can share common concerns and develop strategies to address them.

But until more men consider that issues that affect 50% of the population deserve their attention, the progress to equality will continue to be painfully slow. The pace of change could undoubtedly be increased if men applied their knowledge and experience to the challenges women face - from gender segregation at work to the pay gap - and stood alongside women to address them.

So, I have been wondering how I can persuade more men to get involved. I know there are few who would not want the best education and occupational opportunities for their own family members or for any woman. But, unless things change dramatically, it is young women who, despite doing better on average academically, will be more likely to be out of work or earn less throughout their careers and are at greater risk of lifelong poverty than their male counterparts.

At Young Women's Trust we support young women to build confidence and take steps towards employability. We conduct research and make recommendations to employers and the government about what can be done to level the playing field for young women. I would love to hear from men who think that they can support our work and make a difference in their own communities or places of work, so that more young women are offered the opportunities they desperately need. I would love to know that more male MPs and Lords are making sure that they are supporting the work of parliament's Women's and Equality Committee.

I know the world won't change overnight but there are some things that all men can do right away. Never agree to sit on a panel where there are no women. Never agree to interview for a job unless there are female candidates on the shortlist in areas of work where women are very under-represented. Go to an event about women's issues and learn about the challenges they face. And, of course, encourage your own daughter or granddaughter to fulfill her dream.

HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today

Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com