Accelerating progress towards


…let’s discuss this concept

Does I&D need a rebrand?

Daniele Fiandaca

Daniele Fiandaca

Founder of Token Man Consulting.
Top 50 Trailblazers in Gender Equality 2021. 

One of the first things I did when I became an I&D consultant 6 years ago was switch the D and the I around so that Inclusion came before diversity (a hack that I stole off the Head of I&D at Lloyds Bank). There were two reasons for this:

  1. Too many companies were focusing on diversity without recognising the need to create an inclusive culture so that all diversity can thrive, so inclusion needs to come first.
  2. We know that when a person hears two words, they are more likely to only focus on the first word. So when I was speaking to straight white cis-gender hetrosexual neurotypical men without disabilities, like me, I realised all they would hear was the word diversity and think it was not for them. By putting inclusion first, at least we had a chance of engaging them and bringing them on the journey.

Our Masculinity in the Workplace (MIW) research shows there is still a lot of of work to be done

Six years later and with the launch of our latest MIW research (download HERE), it just feels like companies are still not doing enough to engage men. This is clearly harming the progress of I&D, with 74% of respondents saying that their workplaces are just a little diverse or worse. This is not wholly surprising when 16% of the respondents said that they are only starting to consider inclusivity, while 20% said their culture occasionally excludes and 14% often excludes.

Inclusive Leadership skills still not valued

And if we dig deeper into the leadership skills that are valued, we gain a different perspective that still tells the same depressing story.. Inclusive leadership skills are still not valued. The amount of people considering their culture as masculine rose this year from previous years to 37%.  When we look at the leadership skills that are most valued, I would argue that 7 out of the top 10 leadership traits that are valued are traditional masculine traits, with inclusive leadership traits such as cultural intelligence, empathy and vulnerability nowhere to be seen.

Men are still not engaged

One of the findings that most stood out for me was that only 31% felt that a majority of their men were engaged with Inclusion and Diversity which is wholly consistent with our IWD research (to be published next week). This found that people felt that only 44% of men are allies to gender equity. Most worryingly though, 48% of male employees reported they felt they had to show engagement in I&D despite it not being relevant to them. This is a shocking statistic and shows two things for me:

  1. The positioning of I&D in the workplace feels broken and is clearly not connecting with the men who are probably in the best position to create change. Inclusion must be for everyone and this needs to be clear in both positioning and the activity.
  2. Businesses have not done enough to integrate inclusive leadership as a prerequisite to being a manager or a leader. It’s my hope that those not embracing the inclusive leadership skills such as cultural intelligence, empathy and vulnerability, will not be in leadership in 5 years. But this needs to be a cultural shift and it needs to be backed up with the right training and support (incorporating coaching and therapy).

In summary, more men need to feel included in the I&D agenda, whilst also creating systems that recognise a broader range of leadership skills, including those of inclusive leadership. Both can benefit male leaders.

Male Allyship is important

If there is one encouragement for me is that we are starting to see more people recognise the importance of male allyship and I am delighted to be speaking at the likes of Kerry and WPP as part of the International Women’s Day activity. One of the key stats I will definitely be sharing is the fact that of the men leaning into I&D that we surveyed last year, in collaboration with Potentia Talent Consulting,  97% said they were either a better leader and/or human being as a result of the work they have done (download full report HERE). That’s a compelling reason to get more involved. As is the fact that if you don’t, you might wake one morning and find that you are irrelevant in the workplace.

And if you’re a man reading this and wondering what more you can do, check out our Men leaning in Matrix for inspiration. This provides you with plenty of ways to help drive gender equity in the workplace. And whatever you do, make sure you do something meaningful to celebrate International Women’s Day.

A massive thanks to all our partners which include Audio NetworkCDM LondonCoca-Cola Europacific PartnersColt Technology ServicesHavasHSBCKellogg CompanyKP SnacksMajor Players | B Corp™MarsMerlin EntertainmentsOMD EMEAPepsiCoRolls-Royce, TAG and Wunderman.