Four steps to overcome Mansplaining

Hans Geene Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland 11 Jun 2018

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Mansplaining is a term born in America for a man who shows empathy towards Diversity & Inclusion topics, but then gives a rational explanation for why any action is out of their control. For example, "there are no women in STEM which is why we can't recruit female engineers", or "there are only male candidates for that role as women are not prepared to relocate internationally".

But how can we fight the urge to mansplain? PwC expert Hans Geene, shares his thoughts.

How to overcome Mansplaining? 

Give airtime and reinforce credibility in front of leaders

An example could be in a decision making meeting, when asked a question (even when you know the answer) reply "I will let my colleague explain - she is the expert".

In all job adverts, add (man/women) after the job title

A small act, but men and women are attracted by different language, for example do your job advertisements cite your company as challenging, risk-taking, game-changing or collaborative, team-success, personal development. These statements can excite or completely alienate potential talent, by adding (man/women) after the job title, be it Software Engineer of Healthcare worker, this makes it clear that all candidates are welcome, and is a step to breaking down societal stereotypes (that men work in Engineering and women work in Healthcare)

Shift the promotional process from opt in to opt out

Rather than proposing candidates for a promotion, put everyone in the pool. All candidates will then be on the same level playing field. We are all biased, and the unconscious affinity bias (desire to work with people who are like us, same background, ethnic group etc) means we can unconsciously not propose people different to us. This opt in approach means that there needs to be good arguments why a candidate is not ready for promotion, rooted in facts, proof and data rather than the assumptions that can be used.

Call out mansplaining in colleagues

This applies to all of us, from hearing a female colleague moan that there are no men who want to work in HR, to a man who can't find a female candidate for a sales role because they "won't work weekends". There is talent everywhere, we need to open our eyes and mind to what we see as the perfect fit and ensure our workplace is inclusive to all.

What can you take-away?
  • Mansplaining is a term that designates a man who shows empathy towards Diversity & Inclusion topics, but then gives a rational explanation for why any action is out of their control.
  • Our PwC expert, Hans Geene, shares his thoughts on how to best overcome Mansplaining. His suggestions are: Give airtime and reinforce credibility in front of leaders, in all job adverts add (man/women) after the job title, shift the promotional process from opt in to opt out, call out mansplaining in colleagues.

 

Contacts

Hans Geene

Partner, People and Organisation, Zurich and Geneva, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 91 24

Email