As a man, it can sometimes be uncomfortable working in the gender equality space and of course I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I think this helps me to connect on a different level. Things that are uncomfortable can become fuel to do something differently and can lead to positive change.
When I have had to defend my role as a man in this space, I have been sensitive to the deep rooted feelings of those affected by these issues. I am not trying to come in as a man and solve all the issues; that would be naïve and achieve nothing. You don’t need to be a woman to meaningfully contribute to the gender equality debate, but as a man you need to understand your privilege and you need to be compassionate and empathetic.
I believe that I need to role model that no one is just one thing. I am a man, but I’m many other things as well. When we stop judging people by our own perceptions of their characteristics, that’s when we can have real conversations and effect real change.