We coach leaders.

# 15 What men want and why it matters for women

I convene a women in management group in Melbourne called the Dolphin Forum.  We meet second monthly over dinner and once a year we have a guest speaker.  Last Monday night our guest for this year was Dr Barbara West.  Barbara has her own consultancy, CultureWorks, and is also on the board of The 100% Project – a not for profit organisation that wants to see 100 percent of Australia’s leadership talent, female and male, contributing equally to Australia’s social and economic future.

What men want

Barbara told us about a recently published study by The 100% Project called Men at Work – what they want and why it matters for women.   The study shows that most men do want to spend time and energy with their family and that in fact 68% said their family is more important to them than their career.  However the most telling statistic for me is that only 39% of men surveyed have asked their employer for greater work-life balance because they think asking will harm their career.

Why this matters for women

As the synopsis of the research findings explains: “If men don’t feel they can request the work-life balance they want, then women will continue to carry most of the burden of maintaining a home and raising the children”.  This in turn means women pay for this by not making it into senior leadership roles and men by missing out on meaningful time with their families.  You can download the full report at the100percentproject.com.au

Why does this matter to me?

At a personal level I care because I am the proud grandmother of five granddaughters and I want them to have all the same opportunities as the grandsons of my friends.  At a business level I care because in my leadership coaching work I coach women who are carrying the bulk of the domestic burden and men who are working ridiculously long hours and feeling deeply the disconnect this causes with their families.

How about you?

How’s your work/life balance?  Are you able to regularly spend meaningful time with your family?

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