177 – Three Actions Men Can Take That Move Us All Forward

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Dr. Sandie Morgan and Dave Stachowiak consider the impact of patriarchal attitudes. They make evident that everyone has a responsibility of moving forward the equality of women, in order to create progress for all. There are three actions that men specifically can take to begin empowering women and engaging in a process that’s going to break down patriarchal stereotypes.

Key Points

  • Three actions men can take to start empowering women are to create a space for women in leadership, demonstrate authentic value and respect for what a woman brings to the table, and nurture talents and gifts so that women can grow in their own right.  
  • According to research from the U.N., countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Countries with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination, and child support.
  • A triangle to model empowerment includes opportunities, access, and achievement.  Opportunity without access is not true equality. However,  with both opportunity and access, you can have the third closing line of achievement, and we want to see achievement.


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Dave: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. This is episode number 177, Three Actions Men Can Take That Move Us All Forward.

Production Credits: [00:00:10] Produced by Innovative Learning, maximizing human potential.

Dave: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.

Sandie: [00:00:36] And my name is Sandie Morgan.

Dave: [00:00:38] And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. Sandie, glad to be back with you for another conversation on how we can inch forward, jump forward, occasionally crawl forward, but move forward on this issue as we are always working to do every time we get together.

Sandie: [00:01:02] And it’s such a complex issue, Dave. So, I enjoy the opportunities we have when it’s a discussion between the two of us and we’re able to explore some of the less direct aspects of this. And I was really privileged to do an author interview with Dr. Elaine Storkey for her new book Scars Across Humanity and it might be something you’d be interested in reading although it’s a little depressing.

Dave: [00:01:33] Well, we’re seven years in on this podcast and I’m still feeling positive about what we’re doing so I can handle a little depression.

Sandie: [00:01:42] Well in her book she discusses the scope of the problem of violence against women and the impact of patriarchal attitudes. And I keep hearing this same theme as people are in the #metoo movement, transition from Boy Scouts of America to Scouts of America. The idea that we have to break down some of those generational attitudes of patriarchy, men over women. So, I thought it would be interesting to really start there. When I asked Dr. Storkey about where violence against women starts she said and I’m going to quote this from her, “It starts in the womb, in places like India and China where boys are valued more than girls for reasons of religion, family, and economics. This leads to girls being aborted at alarming rates, starts in the womb. In other countries, we see the practice of female genital mutilation to assure sexual purity for marriage. And the next horror I found was child marriage, little girls violated by their husbands, losing everything their education and their independence.” That’s overwhelming. And a person could easily say wow I’m going to leave that to somebody else. But it takes men being involved in the response. And just in the recent days, there was a news release from India with a landmark ruling. And you think about their legislative, and law enforcement, and judicial environment and it is predominantly led by men. So, this ruling isn’t about women winning, it’s about men becoming involved. And so, the ruling states that sex with a child bride is always rape. And this was a massive win for girls’ rights. So, you look back at what Dr. Storkey said about little girls violated by their husbands, losing everything their education and their independence. And you realize this is a big win, yes. But there is more to it. What is the more to it? We have to end that opportunity for men to have that kind of power over a little girl because instead of being in a marriage where now it’s going to be called rape, instead of being in a marriage shouldn’t she be in school? Shouldn’t she be pursuing her future, her education? How can that become part of the bigger picture?

Dave: [00:04:47] One of the things that I’ve become more aware of because of you Sandie and certainly Bonnie, my wife, is noticing some of the patterns that I think I wouldn’t see otherwise without the perspective of a woman’s look into the situation. And I’m struck by how many times you or Bonnie or someone has just pointed out to me things that happen in everyday conversation even within our own friendships and household that can be very patriarchal and are things that some of us brought with us, I know I did from childhood and generations ago of things that you know society was different. And so, it’s easy to hear stories like the ones you just shared and think like oh gosh we live here. I mean for speaking for us, we live here in Southern California, we’re very enlightened because we are past a lot of these things. And yet we all have a place to move forward on this where we all have the responsibility I think to identify the things that we are still doing in relationships that contribute to this and sometimes are not as apparent as they may be like with the law you just cited. But in our own households, and how we interact, and what kind of language we’re using with boys and with girls. And we think a lot about that in parenting.

Sandie: [00:06:14] And you have a boy and a girl.

Dave: [00:06:17] We do, and the boy is older and so there are some natural things that I mean an older child tends to be more of the aggressor. I know this from my childhood, you know two brothers. That said, you know we have a lot of conversations around what respect looks like. And you don’t get to touch the other sibling without their permission. And Bonnie and I talk a lot about how really setting the expectation for that at an early age at age 4, 5, 6 years old of respect. And I do see even in our own family how we can, I shouldn’t say anyone else, I can certainly fall into some of those patterns if I’m not thinking about it. It’s easy to miss it just because that’s the environment that I grew up in and others grew up in.

Sandie: [00:07:01] And you bring up a really good point that these things come from your childhood, these perceptions. And how do we overcome that? So, I was really surprised recently when I received an invitation from our local Orange County Boy Scouts of America council asking me to come and speak to them and you’ll never guess what topic they wanted me to speak on.

Dave: [00:07:28] In relation to women?

Sandie: [00:07:29] Yeah, they didn’t ask me to talk about human trafficking. They wanted me to speak on women’s empowerment, which is kind of a trendy word. I kind of try to stay away from that perspective of just labeling something very lofty “Women’s Empowerment”. Empowerment means a lot of different things to different people. But it was a challenging thing to prepare for because the idea of impacting the next generation of boys in Scouting was wow what a great place for me to be in that space. And of course, as I became more engaged in the conversation I learned that the scouts are integrating a both program so that girls are equally eligible to become a Scout and do all the same activities and have the same kind of opportunities. I was excited about that. But a little bit nervous about going to speak to this council and I have to tell you though, I think it is an amazing opportunity for us to begin to watch what happens when kids grow up, children, our youth grow up doing things together instead of separately. And I said to my hosts that I think it’s a lot better for kids to have an opportunity, girls and boys of working together figuring out a strategy to make it through the woods or whatever it is, when they can fail and there are people around to make sure that they get back up and go. Instead of waiting until they get to the boardroom and the company is lost. Or bad things happen like in #metoo and the kind of violence that is coming to the forefront in our news almost every day in every sector.

Dave: [00:09:39] There’s a lot of things that we do, and I don’t think we’re even conscious sometimes of why we do them. I know one thing that came up for me probably 10 years ago is like just and I’m not sure kind of what first made me think this was odd but like why do we even within our religious communities why do we separate men and women so often. It’s just about every group of anything in many of the churches I was with you know years ago would be an immediate separation any time we got out of like the main worship. And I think there are times that that was done with really thoughtful intentionality. But I think most of the time it was just we’re just going to separate because that’s what we do. And so I think that that’s the kind of thing where it bears for me at least thinking like okay are we doing these things because there’s a purpose behind them and we’re actually doing that because it’s helpful to both men and women and whatever gender people identify with or is this just something we’re carrying over from patriarchy and doing things because we’ve always taught them.

Sandie: [00:10:43] And the patriarchal aspect of this is especially evident in religious institutions because the men are given the role of making the decisions. And women are given supportive roles for the most part. And so how do we begin to change that. A few years ago, the U.N. general secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, really summarized the value of women being at the table in the decision-making process. And it’s so important, he actually identified, and he had research from the U.N. to support this, that countries with more gender equality have better economic growth, countries with more women leaders perform better, peace agreements that include women are more durable parliaments with more women enact more legislation on social issues such as health education anti-discrimination and child support. So, he’s summarized that by saying that equality for women means progress for all.

Dave: [00:11:56] Which is exactly our topic today of what men can do, some of the actions that specifically men can take not just for the benefit of women and not just for the benefit of men, but for the benefit of humanity and society.

Sandie: [00:12:09] Well and that’s why preparing to talk to the Scouting council was such a unique opportunity for me and I started thinking through my research and building capacity for women in Iraq. And many times, when I started the conversation people said to me, “Isn’t it great, now girls will have the same opportunities that boys have.” And I remembered that opportunities are a piece of a triangle that we might use as a model for empowerment. So, if you have opportunities and you don’t have access to those opportunities, it isn’t really equality. Because with opportunity and access then you can have the third closing line of achievement. And we want to see achievement. So, creating opportunities in scouting for girls is great. Now we have to make sure that they have access, and we begin to actually celebrate their achievements.

Dave: [00:13:18] I think I know what you mean by the distinction between opportunity and access. But I’m wondering if you can maybe flush that out a little more because I feel like I’m still a little fuzzy on that?

Sandie: [00:13:27] I think I really began to understand that when I was working in Dohuk in Northern Iraq and they had this great project for women who were in very vulnerable communities to get a Microsoft Office certificate. They would give free training, Microsoft was providing a lot of those resources. But guess what happened. They had the opportunity. They got the spot in the class but then they didn’t have access because they were moms and they couldn’t come at that particular time of day. There was no public transportation, and they didn’t have cars, they didn’t have driver’s licenses. And so, the project didn’t include how to get them there, when it fits their schedule. And so, then we started having the issue of well we’ll fill the slots with young men, which is wonderful young men need that training too. But we lost some of the momentum because we didn’t figure out the pieces of access as well.

Dave: [00:14:35] Oh interesting. Thank you, that’s helpful.

Sandie: [00:14:37] So the council wanted me to give them some a framework for how to make this happen. And I remembered again from being in Iraq, a wonderful experience I had with 12th District Federal Judge David O. Carter who became my tutor to help me learn how to bridge the gap from being with all the women over here and entering this space where we need to do both, and we need to have men and women, just like the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, talked about the value of having men and women at the table together. And so, Judge David O. Carter really helped me learn how to move from my space into a space that was both. And when he traveled with me to northern Iraq and during that time he was very intentional about saying, “Dr. Morgan, what I want you to do when we come into a room is follow my lead. And you’re going to feel a little uncomfortable from time to time, but this is how we’re going to begin to create space for other women. So, everything you do helps other women in this area.” So, I remember we were invited because I had such an illustrious guest into the chambers of the leading judge in that entire region. And when we arrived as we entered the room, Judge Carter moved forward with me and allowed me to precede him. And then he pointed to the obvious chair that they had prepared a chair of honor near the judge and said, “oh Dr. Morgan they have a place for you.” And he seated me in that chair and it was quiet as they realized they needed to have another chair. It was great. He created space for me right there in the leadership conversation. And the next thing that happened as judges begin to have a conversation I might become more of an observer, but he did not allow that. He knew what my expertise was, so it wasn’t gratuitous acknowledgment. He knew what my expertise was. And as the conversation opened itself he turned to me and he said, “Dr. Morgan can you speak to that issue where it concerns women?” And I was able to join the conversation from a valid perspective. And he demonstrated value and respect for my contribution to the conversation at that table.

Dave: [00:17:29] So this first action what I’m hearing from you is where can men specifically, of course, create space for women through this.

Sandie: [00:17:39] Exactly.

Dave: [00:17:40] And I love that example of Judge Carter and how he just had you sit down “oh they created a space for you.”.

Sandie: [00:17:47] It’s one of my favorite memories and now because I sort of grew up, I was conditioned, wait until the men get their seats and then take what’s left over here. And really, a little bit from my faith perspective growing too in honor preferring others who would take the first seat. And so, this was a challenge for me as well.

Dave: [00:18:12] Well thank you for acknowledging that I mean I think of growing up in my family and even today there are many times we’ll go to someone’s house and the man is always seated at the head of the table. This happened a few weeks ago and so it requires a mind shift change for all of us to have the courage to be a little bit uncomfortable. And I had someone on my podcast a while back, Sandie who was talking about effecting a change of culture in organizations and he said, “you don’t want to be a lot weird because if you’re a lot weird then you become irrelevant and you become ostracized. But you do want to be a little weird when you’re trying to effect change. And if you’re a little weird, then you make people a little uncomfortable maybe, but you’re not completely out of the conversation.” And so that story for me is just a great example of being a little weird, just pushing a little bit in a situation where there was an opportunity to do that in order to start to change perception.

Sandie: [00:19:12] It was an amazing experience and life changing for me and for the people in the room, we had quite a large entourage on that team visit. So, it was just not just creating space, but it was demonstrating value. So, we had the first two pieces of this three-step process that I learned from the judge. And as we left there and got in the car, he began explaining to me step by step what his thinking was and how he envisioned my role in leadership. So, he began to nurture, and some people use the word train. He wanted to train me to be a leader, but I didn’t feel like I was being trained. I felt like I was being nurtured and the word nurture to me is a powerful word in building your team, in building leadership in the men and women around you. Are you doing something where you’re feeding them, you’re giving them solid content? Are you watering them? Are you watering the flowers you want to grow? That’s an old proverb and I absolutely love using that illustration. And I think sometimes we have the same principles when we’re talking with women that we do with men, but we use different metaphors in order to communicate that. And the idea for me of using more gardening seems a little more cross stereotypical because men are farmers and they grow things and women are gardeners and they grow things so we all kind of get that. So, this idea of nurturing is super important. I was teaching in Baghdad, Iraq for building women’s leadership in higher education and I was asked to teach and train on conflict management for women in higher education. And I was using a curriculum that had already been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education in Baghdad. This is what they wanted me to do, and I was very happy to do that. But when I actually started preparing for daily sessions, all of the illustrations were sports illustrations and all of my participants were women. And in their culture, they were all doctors, they were higher education leaders, they were intelligent high capacity and very highly achieved leaders in their own right. But they didn’t play soccer and they didn’t play baseball of course which was a western game. But by culture, they were the nurturers in their family literally, and they prepared the food, they did the shopping for the food, all those kinds of things. So, I switched the inventory from game equipment and all of that to what’s in your pantry. Do you have all the spices you need in order to accomplish your goal, which is preparing this meal for 25 people? So, I think part of how we begin to nurture that third step is changing our language about what leadership looks like. One of the arguments in my world, when we talk about women in leadership, is we don’t want women to just change out of a dress and put on pants. That is not the definition of women in leadership. We want women to be confident and strong in who they actually are. So, what I really learned from Judge Carter is this three-step process of creating space for women in leadership, for demonstrating value authentic respect for what a woman brings to the table, and then third that nurturing of talents and gifts so that we grow in our own right. We don’t just transplant leadership ideas that are attached to male stereotypes.

Sandie: [00:23:52] You have had the privilege of coaching so many people across cultures and in so many situations on this. When hearing something like this for the first time or maybe the first conversation like this with for example an organization like the Boy Scouts. Where do you start? Where do you suggest that people start in doing this that is maybe a little bit weird little different than what they’ve done before but gets them taking that first step on one of these three or maybe all of them?

Sandie: [00:24:22] Well I think that creating space part has been done for the local leaders at a national level because girls are coming into scouting and now encouraging them to create space so that the girls and the boys are at the same table. We don’t want to have parallel programs that would defeat the goals. And so, creating space and then actually going through all three steps of creating space, and demonstrating authentic respect demonstrating value for what those girls bring to the table. And that’s going to take some time to see what that looks like, how that is going to be built into their culture just like it will if you’re trying to build it into your business culture, into your school, and into your community leadership. So, we don’t want that to be gratuitous. We don’t want to use quota systems. Okay, the girls got to talk three times, now the boys talk three times. We want people to have authentic respect for who they are and demonstrate real value. And after every engagement there’s an opportunity to do a recap, to do a debrief where you actually nurture, you feed and water the strengths that need to grow. And you’re not transplanting gendered stereotypes but you’re looking at this individual girl or boy and you are going to help them strengthen their natural abilities and develop the skills they need no matter what because we all need certain skills. So those three steps creating space, demonstrating value, and nurturing gifts and talents. That’s a beginning place for empowering women and engaging in a process that’s going to break down patriarchal stereotypes.

Dave: [00:26:36] I love the word nurture and it goes back to our title Sandie of moving us all forward. Men need that too. I’ve seen so many examples of my own life but also talking with other men of just that think there’s been the assumption for a long time in many of our societies that men don’t need that their traditional view of masculinity. It’s really exciting to see the acceptance now more broadly in more places of men need nurturing too. And when men both nurture and are willing to be nurtured, it is moving us all forward by helping us to lead by example and also to follow by examples as well too.

Sandie: [00:27:13] I want to close out this with a quick quote from an article by Claire Zillman in Fortune magazine. In response to #metoo, some of the men rallied online under the tagline how I will change and one young man his hashtag how I will change said, “That means sacrificing some of my own social capital so that male-centric spaces in which I am safe are also safe for women.”.

Dave: [00:27:53] So nice. Sandie, This is great. These three actions I think are something that just about all of us in thinking about the meetings, the interactions we’re going to have today in our lives can think of what’s one thing we could do that starts to move us all forward. So, thank you so much for this perspective and I hope that this has got you thinking about some ways that you may do the same thing. And if you will take a few moments to reflect on these three, I think you’ll find a place today tomorrow, think about what you have coming up that you can apply this. And also, would invite you to take a step if you haven’t already in really studying the issues. And I am inviting you to take that first step of hopping online and downloading a copy of Sandie’s book, The Five Things You Must Know a QuickStart Guide to Ending Human Trafficking. It is a downloadable guide that’s going to teach you the five critical things that Sandie and her team have identified that you should know before you join the fight against human trafficking. You can get access to that by going over to endinghumantrafficking.org. And if you have a question or comment for us, go ahead and email it to feedback@endinghumantrafficking.org. Keep in mind the next Ensure Justice conference is coming up in early March 2019, save the date March 1st and 2nd 2019. Ensurejustice.com. And Sandie and I will be back in two weeks for our next conversation. Thanks, Sandie.

Sandie: [00:29:33] Bye, Dave.

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