It’s not often I’m floored by a book - but this is one I’m still reeling from.
With two young children, division of household chores and childcare is always a hot topic in my house. So, you won’t be surprised that I was super keen to read Justin Baldoni’s new book “Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity” - hoping he’d tell me that being a ‘real man’ meant that my husband had to do at least 50% of the housework and childcare!
But Justin went deeper than that. And these are my thoughts…
The Male/Female Dichotomy
In my job as a headhunter, I spend a lot of time championing female CEOs/Founders and women in senior leadership positions.
Many of them have struggled to find investment, or are patronised by Board Members who feel the need to ‘take them under their wing’ or question their decision-making far more often than they would a male counterpart.
So, I suppose it’s natural to feel some animosity towards men in the workplace. But is this fair?
Some of our most amazing clients are male CEOs who embrace the differences of others and empower those around them.
I think what eats me up is that our society and upbringing leads women to constantly question their capabilities – even if they’re the CEO of a global brand. Women are often reluctant to ask for help or put themselves forward for roles they deserve as a result.
Should Women Define What It Means To Be A Man?
I think my struggle stems from my awareness of the still daily struggles that women face in the workplace and in the home.
So, perhaps women should be the ones to decide what it means to be a ‘real man'?
My personal view, is that as a society we need to be more explicit about what it means to simply be a ‘good human’. For example, someone responsible that champions others in the home and/or workplace, and is a considerate manager, spouse, parent etc.
And I’m in good company. Even President Obama agrees with me.
The President has responded directly to Justin on this issue:
“Being a man is simply about being an adult”
Defining an 'adult' as someone who is:
Able to care for others
Willing to make sacrifices for people they love
Able to stick to their principles, even when it’s hard
The last point in particular, resonates with me in my line of work.