EMEA Male Advocacy Team Supports WIN

In recognition that gender equality is an important issue for ExxonMobil, a pan-EMEA project to promote male advocacy (of women) has been developed by members of the Women's Interest Network (WIN). Newsline spoke about it with Robert Haszeldine, European Project Services Lead for Brownfield Projects Organization (BPO) and Matt Chadwick, Reforming Process Operations Supervisor, F&L.
Robert and Matt are both part of the 30-strong EMEA male advocacy team recruited last summer. They learned about the issues surrounding gender equality from their personal involvement in WIN and wanted to make a difference. Robert is taking the lead from a Europe, Middle East and Africa (EAME) perspective, whilst Matt is involved from a Fawley Refinery and UK perspective. 

Robert says: “Within our organisation, gender equality is everyone’s business and in a majority male industry such as ours, we as men have a role to play in learning about and understanding the small, yet frequent barriers experienced by women in our workplaces. We also need to provide allyship through our everyday actions to support women in breaking down those barriers to even the playing field and reach equality.

“It's a challenge for our leadership and for everyone at all levels of the business. We all need to understand the actions that men need to take to really support our female colleagues and to ensure that we have a healthy pipeline of women progressing through our organisation,” he says.

The male advocacy team has developed and consulted on three strategies for implementation across the EMEA region. The first is an ‘Insight Engine’ designed to bring external perspectives into the Company by keeping up with new knowledge, research and reports to guide decision-making. A presentation has been developed that looks at industry data and the findings from a recent ExxonMobil WIN survey, which identifies the barriers from a female perspective. 

Matt says: “If you look at the data, the number of women working in engineering is around 14% according to The Society of Women Engineers. So, if we don't effectively speak to the male population in the drive for equality in the workplace, then we're missing out on the drive, passion and support from a huge number of people.  And it is certainly a topic that's being talked about,” Matt adds. “I have been selected to make a presentation about male allyship at The Society of Women Engineers’ European conference in May. That would suggest there's an appetite to hear more on the topic of male allyship within the wider engineering industry as well as here at ExxonMobil.”     /more

The group’s second strategy is called ‘Challenge Paradigms, Build Confidence and Take Action.’  This seeks to ensure all employees across EMEA are well-informed on the topic. “It’s about knowing when and how to intervene, so we can all help each other to get better at this,” says Robert. “How can we help more men to become aware of the everyday barriers that women are facing in the workplace that men don't necessarily experience themselves,” he asks? “We know that the men in our Company have good intent, but they've just never been exposed to this workplace experience simply because they're men!”

The third strategy is titled ‘Market, Influence and Recruit,’ which looks at how the male allies can scale their activities to maximise the reach of their work across all locations. Ten implementation leads have been assigned to successfully translate the strategies across all ExxonMobil sites in the EMEA region. They will identify cultural considerations, gain on-the-ground feedback and connect with local site networks. 

With these strategies now in place, the advocacy team will host a tactical planning session to consider what success looks like over the next six months and what resources are needed. A female ‘Sounding Board’ is providing direction to ensure the male advocacy group is targeting the right issues. “We also have an executive sponsor who is our compass and sets the direction from a corporate level and there is strong alignment with HR regional leadership too,” Robert adds. 

Discover more about the project and what you can do in support by visiting GoTo/MaleAdvocacy or reach out to your local WIN chapter.