Posted by: blairajohnson | January 30, 2018

He For She

I recently saw a TED Talk, that fits perfectly with what we have been discussing in class this week about involving men in the conversation with women. The TED Talk, “An Invitation to Men Who Want a Better World for Women,” given by Elizabeth Nyamayaro, discusses  gender equality in an organizaiton that she is a part of at the UN called HeForShe. In her talk, she says to invision a a peice of paper with a line drawn horizontally in the middle. Imagine the women on top of the line and on the bottom half. The goal is to bring the men to the womens side of the paper, one man at a time to bring about gender equality.

She discusses the problems the organization faced when trying to get men involved as many believe that men do not care about women or think that men are the issue. However, she and others were suprised when within the first week so many men joined that there was a men from every country in the world that contributed to 1 million conversations online. This supports what we discussed in class that men are more willing than most women think to stand up and support women. It seems from this anecdote that hundreds of thousands of men from every country support gender equality, but may still have difficulty expressing their sentiments.

While HeForShe does a lot of work in bringing more men to the conversation, Nyamayaro believes that this is only the beginning and that there is more work to be down. She claims that talking about womens issues and gender inequality is not enough, and that men, and women, need to take concrete actions to support gender equality around the world. This TED Talk goes along perfectly with out conversation on strategies for men. On the one hand, men are encouraged to take actions against gender inequality, yet as we discussed in class it is hard for men to accomplish this as they also face a double bind of sorts. However, from this TED Talk it is clear that men should begin in small ways such as reaching out to a neighbor or co-workers. There is still plenty of work to be done, so things will not change overnight, but with small actions the change will come sooner.




  1. It’s good to see that men were so willing to participate in the conversation about gender inequality, especially since this is not a one-sided issue. Just as women face gender disparity, men face issues caused by their gender as well. Open discussions that focus on sex-particular problems will lead to innovative resolutions that would not be implemented if the conversation were centered on simply one sex.

    As it pertains to leadership, I feel that this openness is essential as well. The necessity of inclusive leadership positions is crucial for the modernized society in which we live today; otherwise, as evidenced by research which we have read for class, businesses fail and politics are too narrow-minded. Thus, I think that men being apart of the leadership conversation will alleviate the gender inequalities which such positions struggle with, and can even allow for more acceptance across the board in other social groups (i.e. ethnic minorities).

  2. Hi Blair! I really enjoyed your post, thank you for bringing this up! When I read the title of your blog, I immediately thought of Emma Watson’s speech that she gave the UN during her time as UN Goodwill Women’s Ambassador. I have watched that speech more times than I care to admit, and it’s always stuck with me. It is so essential for men to be involved in the gender equality movement. Realistically, men are in the highest positions of power, and therefore can affect change faster than women currently can.
    I think this relates in an interesting way to the Heifetz article that we read. Heifetz reflected on the loss that men would feel, saying that people don’t fear change, they fear loss (which I totally agree with). I suppose I hadn’t been thinking about what men would lose, only what we as a collective population would gain. I think conquering gender stereotypes might not only help women, it would rid some of the damaging effects of toxic masculinity.

  3. I have also watched Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech more times than I care to admit, but it definitely speaks the same ideas. It also reminded me of all the men seen as the Women’s Marches held around the world. I think we need to start by ending this idea of “man-hating”. If I was going to be attacked for everything that I said, I wouldn’t stand up to support any cause. Women can’t expect men to stand beside us if our response to their concerns is to brush it aside or throw accusations. I also don’t think it has to start with the men. If our goal is really to develop a society in which anyone can lead and the best person for the job is chosen no matter what, women can step and too and volunteer to hear the men. They may not rush to speak, but knowing that women are listening and care about men and understand what men may be losing in this shift may just be the push we all need to alter our thinking.

  4. Being one of the males in this class, it is refreshing to hear that other males think that women and men should have equal opportunity and treatment. I have always questioned what role do males play in the equality movement since we are the other half of the conversation. Males can’t sit idly by waiting for this issue to play itself out. That is what makes equality, both genders work on the same issue together. I wonder in what ways can males improve the environment for the workplace and in our society for women. Do men need to treat women just as they would treat other men? Or do both genders need to meet in the middle somewhere? Should us males give up our seat for the ladies, and if so, should the ladies give up their seats for males? When is it seen as disrespectful, and when is it just being a nice person? I think most guys don’t know how to handle the shift in societal norms even though they just want to do the right thing.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: