WIIFM. What’s in it for men. This Office of Equity and Diversity workshop was about women and the glass ceiling. As is tradition, it is pointed out that the portraits on the wall of the Presidents Room is white men. We did a variety of exercises to discuss and demonstrate the glass ceiling, and what men and women can both do to overcome the negative drawbacks of a university run by men.
As I write this, I have to call out that, as a gay man, my interaction with women is general professional in nature, in the work place, in leadership roles. The Will Steger Foundation is entirely female. Do It Green! Minnesota is almost exclusively female volunteers. The Chair and Treasurer of Metro Skywarn, Inc. are female. They’ve all busted down the glass ceiling, and it’s an attitude of respect and commitment all around.
Perhaps my glass ceiling is in the social circles. I don’t associate with many people, much less women, in personal social circles. It’s my lifestyle and diverse nature. Is it wrong? Absolutely not. It’s a balance that works for me. When this workshop talked of equity in a diverse workplace, I applied that to the academic and professional standing at the University. While the men on the walls of the Presidents Room reflect the top link of the chain, I know the University is a diverse place. My staff adviser is a woman. Housing and Residential Life is led by women (H&RL is where my roots of diversity at the University began). However, I know there is unbalance in many respects, as well, at this institution. However, I’m not in a position to influence or sway the balance of power. As I said, there’s a balance in my life, and one I don’t wish to disrupt. I will be an ally, but as a gay man, it’s truly less my concern than a heterosexual male would face in the social circles of his private life.