Half of the world’s population believes that men make better political and business leaders than women.” Is this a quote from a 1950s newspaper article? Unfortunately, no. This is the conclusion from the latest United Nations Development Programme Gender Social Norms Index report, published in 2023.

According to the survey, 25 percent of people around the world think that it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife. In a post-#MeToo world, words fail me. And we can’t forget to mention that, globally, men still earn an average of 30 percent more than women.

Who says we no longer need feminism? We have won a few battles, but we are far from claiming victory. And to get to the finish line—a more just and egalitarian society—we’re going to have to team up with men.

Recently, during a conversation I had with friends (who are all educated and knowledgeable about the state of the world) about discrimination against women in the workplace, one of them—a father of two teenage girls—asked, “Is this going too far?” As in, are we giving too much power to workers by allowing them to file a complaint about the slightest misconduct of their peers or superiors? I saw red. This is a trivial example, but it’s one that illustrates what is going on behind the scenes in most environments.

Guys, we need your help. Feminism is a universal movement that we all need to be part of. Be active allies. Rather than trying to find flaws in the movement, be the bearers of the message. Analyze opinions, be critical and do not remain silent when you witness the inappropriate words and behaviours of other men. Never hesitate to point out that there are not enough women sitting on boards or around the bargaining table. Be brave. Fight for colleagues to receive equal salaries and for friends to feel safe when going home late at night so that all our daughters, sisters and nieces can enjoy the same opportunities as men—economically, socially, culturally and legally.

The patriarchy hurts everyone, and it can only be dismantled if we build a strong team.

The September 2023 issue of ELLE Canada is available on newsstands now, in print and digitally.

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