Helping Men and Women Get to Know Each Other Better at Work

In: BlogDate: Oct 02, 2020By: Billy Burgess

Dr Jill Armstrong’s Collaborating With Men project aims to tackle everyday sexism in the workplace and lay the foundation for a more gender inclusive workplace. She believes men and women need to be working together more often if we’re ever going to see gender equality in the workplace.

In this 90-second video from the 2018 Happy Workplaces Conference, Jill offers some ideas for getting men and women to form more relaxed social interactions in the workplace.

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How to Help Men and Women Get to Know Each Other Better at Work

What I want to do is give you a few ideas about how to encourage men and women to actually form more relaxed social interactions in the workplace. There are all sorts of ways of doing this, so for example men and women can mentor each other. There’s an idea that came up in our work about Walkabout Wednesdays where people are charged with going to meet someone they don’t know and ideally somebody of the different gender also, so just kind of being encouraged by the management to take a bit of time out and get to know people.

One idea which came from Happy is eating only in the social spaces. Rather than eating at your desk, when you have your lunch, you actually talk to the people around you. So, some ideas there about what can be done to make sure that there is a lot of mixing between people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable with each other; between people who don't necessarily know each other very well. This, of course, is a point that applies to men and women but also people of different ages and backgrounds.

 What ways do you think will work in your workplaces to help more men and women get to know each other better?

Men and women mentoring each other is one of Jill’s suggestions, walkabout Wednesdays is another.

“[Walkabout Wednesdays is] where people are charged with going to meet someone they don’t know and ideally somebody of the different gender also. So just being encouraged by the management to take a bit of time out and get to know people,” Jill says.

Jill also highlights Happy’s policy of people eating only in the social spaces. “Rather than eating at your desk, when you have your lunch, you actually talk to the people around you,” she says.

Jill’s ideas are all aimed at stimulating connections between people who don’t know each other or don’t necessarily feel comfortable with each other. “This, of course, is a point that applies to men and women but also people of different ages and backgrounds,” she says.

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About Dr. Jill

Dr. Jill Armstrong is an academic researcher on men, women and gender equality at work. Jill is lead researcher on the Murray Edwards College ‘Collaborating with men’ project, working with men and women to change workplace culture for the benefit of all.

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