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Teneo UK - What Men can do to help #BreakTheBias

Category: International Women’s Day, International Women’s Day 2022, Elimination of Violence Against Women

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Breaking the Bias is important to Teneo and part of this is giving our employees the right guidance and support to be able to do this. David Ferrabee, Managing Director at Teneo, recently led a male allyship pilot with Senior Managing Directors Tim Burt and Gavin Park, aimed at helping men to be better allies to women. The men-only environment allowed participants to ask questions openly and without fear of judgement.


Hear from David himself as to why this was an important topic for him and from other Teneo colleagues on the importance of male allies.

"I joined a Teneo-wide webinar in November last year called Elimination of Violence Against Women. I was disturbed to see of the 200 people online, only 5 were men. That sure wasn’t what the title needed. I commented on this in the webinar and was asked what I could do about it. Organising a men-only session on the topic, while antithetical too, seemed an appropriate response." 

David FerrabeeDavid Ferrabee, Managing Director


"When Lily and I agreed to support David with designing the initial session, we were adamant that the basis of the discussions and information shared would be informed by women. We thought it was important to create a safe space for men to ask questions and learn in a men only environment, but also wanted this session to benefit all women and bring attention to how different characteristics, such as ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability and age can intersect with gender. The ERGs were really instrumental in reviewing the session outline and materials to ensure that the approach was inclusive and covered how women in their communities can face bias both at work and in wider society.

I am passionate about breaking the bias and ensuring that every women is valued as an individual, without referencing their relation to the men in their life ("she could have been your daughter / sister / wife"), and with the ability to achieve success, however they might define this."

Georgie Willis, white female sitting down smilingGeorgie Willis, Consultant


"Georgie and I feel very strongly that the focus for gender equality needs to be on creating structural change, rather than changing women’s behaviour. We hoped that the session would inspire attendees to speak to the women in their lives, to provide more context to the difficulties women face. During the open discussion, it became clear that men are on board with helping drive structural change and putting in the effort to learn how to do so. Thanks to the positive feedback we have received, we will bring women more actively into the conversation with a mixed gender session. We hope to cover more important topics, such as how patriarchal structures can negatively impact men as well as women.

Finally, I am encouraged by the increased attention on women's safety and the role that male allies can play in this by calling out behaviours and language by their friends and colleagues."

Lily OmidiranLily Omidiran, Senior Associate Consultant


"I wanted to attend this session as I was aware that I talked about being an ally, but didn’t actually do anything active to earn that title. It was upsetting and surprising to learn the scale of the issue, and I thought it was an important chance to reflect on how our own behaviours, in our personal lives and especially in the office, impact the people around us (and society as a whole). I’d encourage all of us to attend these sessions, they’re a great chance to learn about how to be a better ally, in a safe and open space."

Edward BottomleyEdward Bottomley, Consultant


"I was keen to attend this session initially because of the immediate horror of the Sarah Everard murder, my revulsion at the heavy handed police response to the vigils that followed and a desire to understand better the issues that make women feel unsafe. The session itself was enlightening as many of those attending discussed their concerns at the safety of family members and there was a lot of discussion as to how men in Teneo can be allies to female colleagues.

One key issue that was recognised by the group is that it is not just about creating a safe physical environment but also about recognising the damage caused  by micro behaviours that undermine women in the workplace. This is particularly relevant in our sector as when I started in restructuring in the early 1990’s it was a white male dominated environment and whilst there has been some progress it remains that way 30 years later. The solution needed is to make our profession more diverse but the journey to that goal needs men to be better allies to women, acting as sponsors for junior staff and importantly ensuring that we create the right working environment that enables all staff to meet their potential."

Richard HawesRichard Hawes, Senior Managing Director


Top Tips for men to support us to #BreakTheBias:

  • Consider the issues that marginalised groups face and educate yourself on the barriers that women and other minoritised people encounter
  • Listen when people take the time to voice concerns – we all say the wrong thing sometimes and this is how we learn
  • Call out discrimination. Don’t forget to check in with the person who may have been hurt by the comment as well
  • Think about how various forms of oppression can intersect – black women experience racism differently to black men and sexism differently to white women

For more information on Teneo's DEI work please click here

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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