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Men must act as 'allies' to promote gender balance in NHS

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Men working in senior positions across the health service must act as allies in the fight for a more gender-balanced workforce particularly at the top level, according to a new report.

The document has been released to conincide with International Women’s Day.

To help NHS to become a more gender-balanced profession the report calls on men to use their positions to influence wider attitudes and behaviour across the system.

The report - Men as Allies - published by Health & Care Women Leaders Network and delivered by the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers, gathers views from men in senior frontline and system roles in the NHS.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Sam Allen

Sam Allen

It explores some of the actions and behaviours men can take on to support the development of female leaders.

Chair of the network, Sam Allen, said that to achieve progress in gender-balance across the NHS, men, as leaders and colleagues, needed to “understand the barriers women can face in the workplace and be prepared to ask women how they can be better allies”.

According to Ms Allen, data shows that where men were actively involved in gender equality, 96% of organisations reported progress. Though where men were not involved, only 30% showed progress.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “As men, we have to accept that our role as allies demands more than speaking on platforms against sexism or supporting networks.

danny mortimer

danny mortimer

Danny Mortimer

“It is about truly listening to our female colleagues’ stories and experiences; it is about challenging our male co-workers and friends in our day-to-day interactions; it is about recognising that as part of the problem, we are also required to be part of the solution,” he added.

The report comes as Nursing Times launched its first focus series exploring the topic of men in nursing.

A common consensus among interviewees was the pressing need to tackle the gender disparity at the top.

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