My blog post last Friday regarding the Tim Hunt situation generated a fair amount of strong, opinionated discussion, from both sides of the fence.
That discussion was quite valuable, but now I think it is time to move past Tim Hunt and get to the heart of the real issue. The real issue extends far beyond the details of Tim Hunt’s remarks at the event in South Korea. It goes far beyond any assessment of his awful handling of the fallout from these remarks. Tim Hunt’s disastrous week provides us an opportunity to initiate the real conversation: how do men and women work together to transcend decades of gender stereotypes and biases and create an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the STEM workplace?
We can’t escape it-creating an inclusive workplace requires a partnership between men and women. Men still hold the majority of leadership roles in many STEM fields and engaging them as partners in the diversity discussion is absolutely necessary for us to successfully implement change in the workplace. There does have to be a give and take, however. Men need to be willing to be open to introspection, to examining their own behavior as well the inherent culture of the office or company. As women, we need to be open and honest, and utilize a constructive approach to the conversation focusing on education and solution development and not emotion and blame. As members of an organization whose mission inherently strives to foster an environment of tolerance and avoidance of stereotypes and assumptions, we cannot alienate our essential partners in this effort. A safe and congenial environment free from retribution and blame for both sides needs to be created for progress to occur.
To that end, during my presidency, the conversation of Men As Diversity Partners will be ongoing. I encourage everyone to continue to check back on SWE’s #AllTogether Blog on a monthly basis to continue this ongoing and, in my opinion, extremely important conversation.
FY16 President, Society of Women Engineers