Recognizing the ability to effect lasting, positive change when it comes to gender equity in the workplace, Shawmut is on a journey to close the gap. Shawmut project executive and Diversity Leadership Council chair David Margolius joined the Engaging Male Leaders event—hosted by Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Women’s Workforce Council (BWWC)—as a panelist to discuss the ways male leaders can serve as advocates and allies for gender equity in the workplace.

Mayor Walsh began the morning with opening remarks, impressing upon the audience that when women succeed in the workforce, society as a whole is stronger. Victoria Budson, executive director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program and BWWC council member, then led the conversation with panelists, focusing on uncovering systemic solutions to close the gap between genders, and how male leaders and employees in other majority groups should take the lead. 

Throughout the discussion, David shared some specific and tactical actions male leaders can take to create equity, including:

  • Mentoring, sponsoring, and advocating for women
  • Bringing other men on board by leading by example
  • Calling out unconscious bias and negative behavior that is hindering progress, and offering education, insight, and alternative actions

The conversation always came back to a crucial point—establishing gender equity is not just an HR or women’s issue; having top-down support of change is crucial to its success. Shawmut’s CEO Les Hiscoe has declared gender equity a business imperative and established a Diversity Leadership Council whose work is made visible to the company’s board of directors to drive accountability and objective measurement of progress. The council partners with both internal and external resources such as Deloitte Human Capital to ensure that the structure it is building to create gender equity is strong, effective and sustainable.