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Creating a ripple effect at Barclays with HeforShe

Chuck Stephens
By Chuck Stephens | July 16, 2015

HeforShe is a campaign founded by UN Women and aims to engage 1 billion men and boys in the drive for gender equality.  In 2014 Barclays sponsored events around the globe in support of the campaign, and this year we featured #HeforShe on all our ATMs, creating awareness about the campaign and informing people about how they could get involved. Those ATM messages reached nearly 5,000,000 people.

On International Women’s Day we launched a yearlong campaign to encourage our colleagues to get involved in discussions around gender in the workplace and in our communities. Chuck Stephens, talks about how the men at Barclays, as well as the general public, have reacted to the HeforShe campaign.

I think a lot of men are receptive to understanding what they could do differently to be more inclusive, but they don’t always know what they need to do differently. There are a lot of us, both men and women, that have been progressing and moving forward in our own leadership paths, yet not realising the impact we sometimes have – both positive and negative -on others. When I talk to people about diversity and supporting gender equality, I often hear, “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do differently, I treat everyone the same.” And unfortunately that’s the hard – but rewarding – part of leadership, figuring out what motivates and what drives each individual rather than treating everybody the same; recognising that treating people equally often means treating people differently,  interacting with them differently, and ensuring our own views or ambitions are not projected onto them.    I think a lot of people have realised that it’s not about saving the whole world; it’s about doing this one small thing today that creates a movement.

What I love about HeforShe and the other initiatives and programmes we have here at Barclays are the dialogues that are happening –   dialogues that lead to action and change. HeForShe is a great vehicle, a movement, which encourages and welcomes men into being part of the solution; not as knights in shining armour, but as a partner in change, as an advocate and ally. Achieving gender equality benefits all of us not just one gender. The HeForShe campaign aims to break down barriers. Those barriers can include access to education or opportunity, ideas of what women can or cannot be, gender norms, threats of violence, etc.  Within Barclays, we are looking at what we can all do to mentor and develop talent, to support our communities.

We’re trying to keep it really simple. Here’s something you can do today that will make a real difference and create that ripple effect. Give that word of encouragement to someone, or if you see someone with potential, let them know. Tell someone they inspire you. It’s that simple.

If you want to see what Barclays is doing about gender equality first hand, apply for a role with us in your city.

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