Do men really not care about equality?

I love TED Talks ( you may have noticed I love them so much I organised Cumbria’s first TEDx with my son Luke.) so if I have chance I watch a TED talk at lunchtime. It’s a great way to switch off from work but still achieve and exposes you to lots of new ideas.

Today I watched former President Carter’s TED talk about female equality:

Now this is a subject I’m passionate about but I found myself disappointed with his final statement that men simply don’t care about equality as they are reaping the rewards of higher pay and an easier rise to the top in their career.

As it happens today is the second anniversary of my granda’s death. You can see him with my beautiful daughter at the top of this post. I was incredibly honoured to have him in my life for as long as I did, he was a huge inspiration to me. I can still remember going to visit him shortly before his death and telling him I’d got an exciting new job. The twinkle in his eyes was a joy to see and he was incredibly proud that I was making a positive move in my career.

Now my granda was born in 1923 so you would expect him to have a different set of values re equality yet he always supported and encouraged me in my career as well as my family life. My dad, very importantly as I know now, never gave me any hint as a youngster that there may be limitations due to my gender. My husband has always been incredibly supportive, whether it was in the decision to take a career break to look after our young children or in changes of direction in my career.  I have to honestly say, other than one manager very early on in my career, that all the men in my life have been completely supportive of equality. So is it a difference between the USA and UK? Or have I been incredibly lucky and been born into a family of men who collectively, despite not being blood related, have held the same values?

One thing I do know is that I have been lucky by accident of birth, there are countries in the world where the fight for women to make their own decisions is a much tougher one. The UK, while there is still work to be done, is one of the countries where a lot of progress has been made.

I’d love to hear if your experience backs up Jimmy Carter’s claim or if you’ve had experience that’s similar to mine? If you’re a man do you think he’s right? Is it too easy to say I support equality but then casually enjoy the benefits of it rather than challenge it? Let me know in the comments.