I, Dr. Donnelly, was wandering through my library several weeks back and a bright red book caught my eye. That's What She Said: What Men Need To Know (And Women Need To Tell Them) about Working Together by Joanne Lipman was released earlier this year and could not be more timely.
Lipman is a journalist and this book is well researched, clearly argued, and written clearly. Especially for anyone who is new to the conversation of gender equity, I recommend this HIGHLY.
Lipman offers 12 things that men need to know and there are four in particular I want to highlight.
1. Interrupt the interrupters. Find me a woman who has sat in a meeting, and you will meet someone who has been interrupted. This is an annoying plague that is easily stopped. If you're in a meeting and a woman is explaining a point and a man interrupts her unnecessarily - advocate for her to finish her point. Even better, if you're in charge of the meeting, institute a 'no interruptions' rule. It's the talking stick from summer camp, in corporate form.
2. She's not 'sorry', she's not 'lucky', and she's not asking you a question. Research shows that women have a tendency to do upspeak (ending in a question) to make themselves less threatening. If they act assertively, after all, they are penalized for it, so they perform lots of verbal acrobats to make sure they don't come across as authoritative. If you're a woman - knock it off. Stop saying you're sorry when nothing is your fault, and if you're a gentleman, encourage those who identify as women in your office to speak with confidence and create a safe environment for them to do so.
3. Yeah, that's not a compliment. The next time you want to comment on a woman's blouse, ask yourself if you would make the same compliment to a dude. If you would, mazel tov, that's just who you are and go for it. If you wouldn't, then it's not a compliment, it's casual sexism.
4. Don't be afraid of tears. Y'all. TEARS ARE HUMAN. Physiologically, women use tears to express emotion more often than men, and men using yelling more often than women. There are cultural conditions behind this, of course, but it's a decent rule of thumb. If you are deeply uncomfortable with tears and you are in a position where you will performing evaluations, learn to get comfortable with them.
This is just a snapshot of the clear advice in this book and we would recommend you pick it up for your company library.