This week: gender equality, green-trolling and combatting food waste

Welcome to the third Rethink Convenience weekly. Each week I summarise the latest articles in Rethink Convenience, highlight some interesting things I’ve encountered in the last week, and give a preview of what’s coming up.

I’ve not published anything new this week, as things are hectic. Hopefully, normal service will resume next week.

My main focus this week has been on gender equality. The week started with International Women’s Day, and a chance to champion women everywhere. In the UK though, gender politics took a decidedly more negative turn as the week progressed.

I won’t provide too much commentary as there are many people who are better informed and more eloquent on the subject. In summary, though, the tragic disappearance and suspected murder of Sarah Everard sparked some pretty intense conversations around gender equality, and particularly the safety of women on British streets.

It’s highlighted how far we — as society and individuals — still have to go to achieve gender equality. It’s brought my privilege into sharp focus, and I have welcomed the opportunity to challenge my own assumptions and think more about the experiences of the women in my life.

Remember, sustainability is not just about saving the environment, it’s about providing a fairer and more equitable society as well (refer to Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). The world is a complex and dynamic system, and we can’t save the world without addressing these inequalities.

Tips

With that in mind, this week I thought I’d share some tips on how to become a better ally. HBR defines male allies as:

… members of an advantaged group committed to building relationships with women, expressing as little sexism in their own behavior as possible, understanding the social privilege conferred by their gender, and demonstrating active efforts to address gender inequities at work and in society. (HBR, 2018)

So how can we become better allies? This list at the Good Men Project is pretty comprehensive, but the stand-outs for me are:

(1) Listen more and (2) Talk less — Two sides of the same coin. Try shutting up for a minute and actually listen to what women are saying. Men cannot tell women how they experience sexism, but we can learn.

(5) Be Careful with Pronoun Use — Understand why this is important to people and, importantly, don’t make assumptions. Do what you can to normalise use of pronouns for all.

(11) Work to Check Your Subconscious or Semi-Conscious Behaviors — This one particularly resonated with me, so I’m going to leave it to Jamie Utt’s original words (emphasis mine):

This one’s really hard because, well, we don’t always know we’re doing some problematic things. In my own case, I know that as a straight man that was socialized in normative masculinity, I can find myself staring at women’s bodies in public without even realizing that I’m doing it.

Thus, I have to work to make myself aware … of the semi-conscious or unconscious behaviors that negatively impact others, and I need to work to change those behaviors. (Good Men Project, 2014)

The full list is well worth a read, and I challenge everyone to think about where they can make changes (30 Ways to be a Better Ally). The focus here is on gender equality, but a lot of these tips are relevant to improve allyship of all types. I’d also recommend reading the full HBR article as well (How Men Can Become Better Allies to Women).

What I’ve consumed this week

Moving away from equality for a bit, a couple of other articles I’ve read this week. First, Drag Them, an issue of Emily Atkin’s newsletter Heated about calling out corporate greenwashing, something that the writer and podcaster Mary Hegler refers to as green-trolling. Who says that climate activism can’t also be fun?

Secondly, Confessions from a Kitchen Bin, an article in Wicked Leeks by Anna Turns. Some great ideas for addressing food waste in this frank and entertaining article.

Next week

Sunday, 14 March:

Monday, 15 March: Buzzards Day (no link)

Tuesday, 16 March: Panda Day (no link)

Thursday, 18 March: Global Recycling Day

Saturday, 20 March:

Sunday, 21 March:


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