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International Women's Day: A Challenge to Men To Show Up for the Fight For Gender Equality

International Women's Day is this Wednesday, and so, I want to use this week's post to acknowledge two important things:

First, I want to acknowledge that my life has been and continues to be greatly inspired and bettered by incredible women.

(Three generations of women in my family and me...dressed as Dublin...)

Powerful women have been a constant for me since birth. My family is composed of a legion of strong, smart, capable, badass women. Most of my best friends are amazing, trailblazing women. Many of my mentors and role models are bold female leaders. Heck, I would venture to say that the majority of my favorite people on this planet are women.

Women inspire, support, and bring joy to my life every day, and I am truly grateful for the contributions of women to not only my life, but also their immense contributions to our society, economy and culture as a whole.

So, in honor of that gratitude, I'd like to make my second acknowledgement, and issue this challenge to the men reading this:


*** The time has come for us to take personal responsibility for our participation in oppression and show up more powerfully and actively in the fight for gender equality, NOW.

Until we, as a privileged group, acknowledge our privilege and actively participate in creating systemic change, equality will not be possible. ***

I think that there is a belief amongst men in our society that gender equality is a women's issue, and that it is women's battle to wage.

I would like to state instead that gender inequality is actually a men's issue, and one that requires our immediate attention.

Though we may not have chosen to be born to privilege, we do choose, either passively or actively, to continue to reap the benefits of that privilege and support the systems of oppression that deny women access to:

Equal pay for equal work

Equal access to employment and full-time work

Equal access to power, agency and resources

Equal access to healthcare

Equal political and media representation

Equal education and opportunities in STEM jobs

Equal protection and response to violence and sexual assault

Equal power to control their bodies

Equal freedom from gender norms, stereotypes or expectations

(to name a few, click here for more)

That choosing of oppression is an issue, and it's our issue.

As this system was designed to benefit us, we are the ones best positioned to change it! We have the access, the power, and the resources to dismantle this system from the inside and to design a new and better system that provides equality for all.

And so, I would like to encourage and enlist myself and every man reading this to take this week, or at least take some time on International Women's Day, to examine how our gender privilege shows up in our lives, and accomplish one actionable step towards creating more equality (I've created a list below for you to choose from.)

Happy International Women's Day everyone! May our actions this week be the first reverberation towards a more equal world!

Your friend,

Ben Caron

  • become more informed about the state of gender equality in the world

  • call out companies that use gender stereotypes

  • call out gender-biased language with our friends and family

  • speak to other men, especially older men, about gender equality and enlist them in creating change

  • rotate responsibilities and tasks with women

  • empower educators to create equality in the classroom

  • challenge all-male speaking panels to include women

  • call it out when women are excluded from opportunities

  • monitor the gender pay gap in our companies

  • point out bias and highlight alternatives in conversation

  • call for and support diverse candidates politically

  • embrace inclusive leadership in our organizations

  • challenge those who justify perpetrators and blame victims

  • donate to groups fighting abuse against women

  • speak out against the silence of violence

  • be vigilant and report violence

  • campaign for the prevention of violence

  • abstain from all violence, physical and otherwise

  • volunteer your help at a local women's charity

  • decide to buy from companies that support women

  • choose to work for a progressive employer for women

  • support or back a woman-owned business

  • take a junior female colleague to a major meeting or event

  • build conducive, flexible work environments

  • appoint a woman to the board

  • mentor a woman and sponsor her goals

  • invite women into situations where they're not already present or contributing

  • create new opportunities for women

  • raise women's visibility as spokespeople in the media

  • drive fairer recognition and credit for women's contributions

  • launch even more awards showcasing women's success

  • hail the success of women leaders

  • applaud social, economic, cultural and political women role models

  • celebrate women's journeys and the barriers they overcome

  • reinforce and support women's triumphs

  • launch or fund a women-focused scholarship

  • encourage more girls into STEM education and careers

  • value diversity for greater educational outcomes

  • support women inventors of new products and services

  • celebrate women researchers discovering new knowledge

  • encourage girls to learn to code

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