How we can be better allies for women – David Smith, PhD | episode 30 recap


Why should “we” men mentor women?

That’s the conversation we have with David Smith PhD.

I had come across the work of David G. Smith, PhD and W. Brad Johnson, PhD and was super interested in what they were up to when it came to why and how men have a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality at work.

Beyond the obvious, that it’s the right thing to do, and as a father of a baby girl, I have started to think about how I will best prepare her to navigate the world and the inconsistencies that may come her way.

For the record, even as an ethnic minority, I don’t have a huge opinion on affirmative action or gender-related issues, and to be honest I tend to probably overstate the significance of self-determination whilst downplaying societal conditions such as hypocrisy, for this, I have my reasons.

But for this conversation and the subject matter into cross-sex mentorship, it made sense beyond the gender-based conversation and in my eyes tied into a company’s ability to win in the marketplace, I mean, just how much stronger would a company be if more men took the time to invest in high potential women in the organization. This would create a stronger and more diverse organization for sure.

For anyone that mentors or believes in the power of it, this is a great conversation into the benefits of a heterogeneous vs homogenous approach when it comes to this subject matter. It had me thinking about the benefits that I could get from being mentored by a woman, which I’m sure could be massive.

In this conversation, we focused on some of David’s work “Athena Rising.” This book is for men about how to eliminate this problem by mentoring women deliberately and effectively.

David Smith, PhD, is Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Leadership and Ethics at the United States Naval War College. A former Navy pilot, Dr. Smith led diverse organizations of women and men culminating in command of a squadron in combat and flew more than 3,000 hours over 30 years including combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a sociologist trained in military sociology and social psychology, he focuses his research on gender, work, and family issues including bias in performance evaluations, retention of women, dual-career families, military families, and women in the military.

Here’s what to expect in the episode:

✅  10:22 – The origins of the challenge for women in the workplace
✅  24:43 – Why exactly women benefit from having male mentors
✅  44:04 – How organisations can embody the habit of encouraging women mentored by men

Enjoy folks!


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