Member Reviews

The media soundscape reverberates with discussions on gender issues often emphasising equity issues in the workplace. For some reason male voices seem to be silent on the conversations that need to be had. This was one of the key observations put forward in this challenging yet engaging book by Kori Reed.
The book's structure is built around conversations with men discussing various workplace practices and situations, which being familiar to me as a male rang true. The premise was inviting and moments into the introduction I was hooked. I think I realised right from the outset that this should not be a quick read - the ideas and challenges shared would need time for reflection and action. So I took a chapter at a sitting. You can read each of the eleven chapters in 20 minutes or so but since each ends with a summary of key points and questions to consider it’s possible to spend a similar amount of time or longer in the reflective process.

And that was what happened.

In fact days after finishing the book that reflection continues, brought back to mind by a news item or reported instance of inequitable treatment. Of course reflection is one thing but the challenge is not to remain silent and to take action. Is writing a blog post joining the conversation?

The author is at pains to explain why men need to be part of these equity conversations. In the United States, for example, men represent just under half of the population but occupy the majority of leadership roles in organisations; the author contends that men therefore are already in positions to make a positive difference. She revisits this point in different chapters. We are hooked alright and in the nicest possible way she is not letting us off that hook! In a compelling argument and reinforcing her point about people already in positions of influence being able to help, she cites a strategy adopted by Martin Luther King. As part of his civil rights campaign, in the background, Dr King built key relationships with people in the white “middle” who could influence change.

The style of the book is user-friendly and the tone encouraging especially when she explores with her interlocutors male reticence in taking part in equity conversations. I appreciated the subtle shifts in mindset; these guys really had something to say. The author has been able to show us that there is a lot going on below the surface; in the "bummock" as she puts it, that large part of the iceberg hidden from view.

In its later chapters the book takes aspects of an existing model for change and applies that discipline to the gender equity equation. I felt that was useful and I liked how that equation was couched in terms of mutual benefit - a win-win for organisations.

I read the book in e-format and looking back over it a moment ago I can see that I have highlighted significant portions to consider further; to memorise and to follow up. As mentioned above an extensive reference section is provided with sources detailed for each chapter. This is very well organised - meticulous. I clicked on several of the links suggested and following up on her references for the Martin Luther King strategy I spent quite a while reading articles on that from the Washington Post. All pertinent stuff. I have also signed up for newsletters and further information from some of the sites concerned. The momentum is underway.

In conclusion, I would say that this book is a call to action. A shout-out to men to break their silence. It would be a powerful resource for leaders in all types of organisations seeking to have a workplace characterised and enabled by gender equity. I imagine those with interests in personal and organisational effectiveness will gain useful insights and strategies for further development and I readily commend the book to their attention.

It has thoroughly engaged mine.

Was this review helpful?

This was a good book. With all the discussions about gender and gender equality, this book is certain to get a lot of positive attention.

Was this review helpful?

I've watched it happen over and over to girlfriends and colleagues. Iit's happened to me as the "almost-elected" nominee several times.

It's a trend that every working woman has experienced or observed. Well-liked and well-intentioned guys overlook qualified women or push them to the side when promotions come around. In general, these men are not high-level CEOs or huge decision-makers. For the mot part, they will not advocate for a female coworker. They don't speak up. They don't mentor. Instead, they guard their flanks and their position and leave highly-skilled women on the sidelines.

Reed examines the fears and aspirations of men in the middle. Well-researched and supported by workplace experiences, she asks why men will not boost women into higher positions as they rise through the ranks or manage groups.

Eye-opening and solution-oriented, this book is worth including in workplace discussions on equality and gender.

Was this review helpful?