At What Will It Take we recognize that it’s not just women who are advocating for gender equity: men are a crucial part of this movement as well. We are heartened to see more and more men standing up for equity with us. These men realize that they need to be part of the solution—not just for the sake of fairness and the benefits of diversity but also because they understand that men and boys also benefit from this work that will free them from the constrictive gender roles and stereotypes that negatively impact them too. Because gender equity isn’t a

 Men as Allies in Gender Equality Panel Discussion

On October 25th What Will It Take partnered with our sister brand SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) to host What Will It Take: Men as Allies in Gender Equality, a panel discussion about gender relations in the public and private sectors.

In this panel, leaders working to advance gender equality, prevent men’s violence against women, and change outdated paradigms in the business/entertainment world and beyond shared some of the ways that women and men are working together in solidarity to address these issues, and how investors and corporations can shift workplace culture to one of respect, equity and value for all. Moderator: Marianne Schnall, founder, What Will It Take; Panelists included: Ted Bunch, Co-founder, A CALL TO MEN; Mauricio Mota, Founder and Co-President, Wise Entertainment; Adrienne Becker, CEO and a Co-Founder of Level Forward and Co-Founder of Killer Content.

Watch the video of the event: 

From left: Mauricio Mota, Adrienne Becker, Ted Bunch and Marianne Schnall

Mauricio Mota, Marianne Schnall, Adrienne Becker, Ted Bunch

See what activist men and women are saying about men as allies in gender equity

“Sexism and the oppression of women are presented as women’s issues, but in actuality they are men’s problems. There are limitless resources available to us that can teach us how we can be a part of the solution in deep and meaningful ways. As men, we must find the will and the courage to accept this challenge, as refusing to do so continues to endanger the lives of women and girls. By being a part of the solution, we will be transformed by the powerful experience of reclaiming our integrity and humanity.” 

—Matt McGorry—
Actor, Activist

“I think people are realizing that we’re not two separate tribes, we’re all in this together, and that men have a responsibility to be advocates for women, women advocates for men and boys. We have a lot more to do to support women in leadership positions. Men cannot be let off the hook in terms of that advocacy. Nor can young boys. Women’s issues are fundamental issues to all of our lives. Women’s issues just basically become family issues, and family issues, especially with pay equity, become issues that affect all of us in society.” 

—Gavin Newsom—
Lieutenant Governor of California

“I think we have to see this as a major issue of human rights and justice and of making the system work that affects all of us and that men need to be a part of, as well as women.” 

—Nicholas Kristof—
New York Times Columnist, Author of Half the Sky

“There is a full circle of human qualities we all have a right to, and men are confined to the ‘masculine’ ones, which are seventy percent, and women are confined to the ‘feminine’ ones, which are thirty percent. Women are missing more, but men are still missing a lot. If a man fights to be his whole self—to be creative, express emotions men are not supposed to express, do jobs men are not supposed to do, take care of his own children—all of these things are part of the feminist movement.”  

—Gloria Steinem— 
Feminist Icon, Writer, Cofounder of Women’s Media Center

“I am a man in recovery, because I am constantly trying to unlearn behaviors and attitudes and feelings that were nurtured into me my entire life. Even as a black person, nothing was more damaging to my life than masculinity.”

—Don McPherson—
Activist, Football Hall of Famer

“The more I learned about feminism, the more I realized I’m a feminist because I believe in equality. In feminism, women are fighting for equality, but the reason they are fighting is because men are fighting back…. Fellas, we are the problem. And if we want to be part of the solution, then words are no longer enough.”

—Justin Baldoni—
Actor, Producer, Director, Host of Man Enough

“It’s [important] to understand that thinking that we’re not a part of the problem is not the same as being a part of the solution. Being a ‘good guy’ doesn’t take us out of what I feel is the obligation to actively be creating a shift. It’s moving from a place of passivity to understanding that being non-sexist is not the same as being anti-sexist.” 

—Matt McGorry—
Actor, Activist 

“We have a long way to go to create a truly equal society. Women have been doing the heavy lifting on gender equality work for years, so it’s time for men to join in doing the work. I really believe that if we work together, we can create a world that is safe for everyone and where everyone can reach their human potential.”

—Jennifer Siebel Newsom—
Filmmaker, Actress, Founder/CEO of The Representation Project

“If we can get men to embrace and promote a healthy, respectful manhood, we will prevent violence and discrimination against women, sexual assault, sexual harassment, bullying and many other social ills. Men will also be healthier, whole and authentic men.”

—Ted Bunch—
Chief Development Officer of A CALL TO MEN

“If we can start to redefine what [masculine] means and teach young boys that their emotions are actually their strength and their vulnerability is their power, there is a really good chance that we can create a big difference in the world.” 

—Justin Baldoni—
Actor, Producer, Director, Host of Man Enough

“Feminism is for men as well as women. I cannot emphasize that enough. And the only way we are going to make it is if we understand it and speak about it. What we can do for men is help them see that this is not attacking men. On the contrary: the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy—it’s democracy.”

—Jane Fonda—
Actress, Activist, Cofounder of Women’s Media Center

These quotes are condensed from interviews by journalist and author Marianne Schnall; the originals appeared in her articles and/or the books “Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice” and “What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power.” 

Interview with Don McPherson
The outspoken football Hall of Famer and proud feminist talks about sexism, redefining masculinity and how men can embrace their wholeness.