I think a lot about what the work environment might entail for Sophie, and how I can help to build an inclusive working culture for women. If I'm completely honest, the latter hadn't crossed my mind before I had a daughter. Don't get me wrong - it didn't take the birth of my daughter to appreciate equality. I've always been fortunate to have strong female role models in my life, but there is something about having my own daughter that changed my outlook. Parenthood took unconditional love to a whole new level. So, over the last few years, I've tried to use this to bring about change, not only in myself but in others too.
Since Sophie was born, I experienced first-hand just how much effort is required at home to ensure the smooth running of our daughter’s life, from doctor’s appointments and managing her dietary requirements to juggling social arrangements, childcare and pre-schools. Quite frankly, I never imagined or understood the scale of all of this before. Since we know that the majority of women still shoulder the bulk of responsibility at home, it struck me how difficult it must be for working women to have a fulfilling career and to be a mother at the same time.
On a personal level, this has meant that I want to be present and engage as much as possible in the upbringing of my daughter, to be the best possible dad I can be. I also want to support my wife, who has a challenging role in a global bank.
Our family experiences have resulted in me becoming more aware of the importance of male allies in championing equality, and is driven by a desire to create the future world I want my daughter to experience. This is why it’s important that men support events like International Women's Day.
My experiences, like those of many others, have raised two important questions for me:
1. How can men use their own family experiences to help build a future working world for their own daughters and family?
2. How can men make a difference to enable real change?
For the second point, it may be something as simple as addressing a personal unconscious bias in relation to the traditional role of women. Whatever it is, powerful messages of inclusion often come from those who are not part of the group they are championing.
If women alone could close the pay gap and achieve gender balance in the workplace, I'm pretty sure we would already have achieved this. A man’s mindset and ability to promote and enable change alongside women is vital. Without this, change will be slow coming. Men should be confident to step up, engage in the conversation and think of practical ways to make a difference. That's why I'm personally owning the Diversity and Inclusion agenda at Capco in Hong Kong and promoting #BalanceforBetter for International Women's Day.
Andrew King, Partner, Capco Hong Kong.