Why Having an All Male Panel at the Women’s Global Summit is Genius

An all-male panel at the 2014 Global Summit of Women is getting a lot of flak. Here’s why the criticism is completely misplaced.

This tweet is an image of the panel called Redefining the Marketplace: The Business Case for Gender Equality, and comprises male CEOs from the fields of banking, energy, and law. They took to the stage and discussed how recruiting and fostering female talent can drive a company’s success.

However, the reaction online was predominantly along the same lines as the tweet above:

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As for the question on whether to laugh or cry; it heartening to see a group of men get together and talk of gender equality at the mostly female dominated summit.

There could well have been a woman or two on the panel, but since there are none, the contribution of the men should be under scrutiny.

Gianmarco Monsellato, the CEO of French corporate law firm TAJ and one of the panelists, for instance, is someone whose plan of action is to recruit powerful men to fight for gender equality.

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Why hire men to do this? Wouldn’t women be able to relate to the issue better, one may ask.

Well, Monsellato believes that ‘endorsing correctives which focus on female employees’ own behavior at the expense of male leaders’ actions, and diversity initiatives, which ask women talk among themselves and present their findings to male leadership, will never succeed until powerful men are pressured to take up the cause themselves.’

His theory and strategy makes perfect sense.

After all, gender equality is not just a women's concern but of all people – regardless of their gender. Women cannot achieve gender equality without the cooperation and participation of men. It is not a one-sided game.

Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to wrap get a grip on reality rather than fall back on preconceived notions.

The Council of European Nations also feels very strongly about the and maintains that, “in order to improve the status of women and promote gender equality, more attention should be paid to how men are involved in the achievement of gender equality, as well as to the positive impact of gender equality for men and for the well-being of society as a whole.”

The Global Summit of Women brought more than 1,000 women from more than 80 countries together to discuss ways to increase women’s economic opportunities all over the world.

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