In an era where gender equality is a pressing global concern, Daniele stands at the forefront of challenging traditional norms and advocating for change. Daniele Fiandaca, the visionary founder of Token Man Consulting, is an expert in the field of inclusion and diversity. His insights on the pivotal role of men in the gender equality movement, as well as the obstacles they face, provide a fresh perspective on this critical issue.
Daniele’s journey toward advocating for gender diversity began a decade ago during his career in advertising, where he held various leadership roles. At that time, he organized events for creative directors globally, including one pivotal dinner event for twelve women. While the presence of twelve women didn’t surprise him, what transpired when he entered the room was entirely unexpected.
Upon entering the dinner, Daniele experienced an abrupt loss of confidence—an invisible force seemed to snatch it away. As the dinner progressed, he found himself surrounded by conversations he couldn’t relate to, pushing him further into the periphery. When he attempted to introduce the dinner he had funded, his co-host, a woman, interrupted him. These experiences were strikingly similar to what women often encounter in male-dominated settings.
It was through these firsthand experiences that Daniele truly grasped what it felt like to be part of the “out group.” Despite his numerous privileges, he hadn’t fully comprehended the extent of the impact such exclusionary experiences could have on individuals. This awakening marked the beginning of his commitment to driving change in the field of gender equality.
The Necessity of Men’s Involvement
Daniele’s mission to involve men in the gender equality conversation stems from a profound understanding of their perspectives and challenges. He is critical of corporate strategies that, in his view, fall short in engaging men effectively. He contends that while inclusion should be for everyone, many organizations fail to provide adequate support for men. He highlights International Men’s Day as an example, noting that dismissing its significance can be damaging, especially to those facing intersecting challenges.
Daniele stresses the need to acknowledge men’s diverse backgrounds and experiences. He understands the privilege he holds and emphasizes that privilege entails responsibility, not necessarily an easy journey. His approach is rooted in recognizing that the patriarchy’s harmful effects extend to nearly everyone.
Daniele’s strategy is threefold: support, inspire, and recruit. He argues that organizations often skip the support stage and immediately focus on recruiting men as allies, a tactic that can be perceived as assigning blame to men. He highlights that many men are grappling with personal crises, including financial pressures and societal expectations, which makes it crucial to provide them with support.
Ultimately, Daniele underscores that supporting men doesn’t diminish the support offered to other historically marginalized groups but rather reflects the principle of equity, where everyone requires support. He believes that successful engagement of men begins with providing them the support they need to understand their role as allies and agents of change. His approach is to ensure inclusivity by focusing on the language used, striving to take men on a journey without alienating them from the conversation.
Fostering Uncomfortable Conversations
Daniele explains that achieving progress in the realm of diversity and inclusion requires embracing challenging conversations. He acknowledges that uncomfortable discussions are a necessity, often revealing areas where personal growth and change are needed.
In his work, which extensively involves promoting male allyship, Daniele places particular emphasis on the concepts of “calling in,” “calling out,” and “calling forward.” These terms encapsulate the processes through which individuals can address problematic behavior and language effectively.
Calling Out: This involves addressing inappropriate or harmful remarks or actions in the moment. While it can be essential for correcting egregious behavior, it may also trigger defensive responses.
Calling In: Calling in recognizes that certain situations may not be conducive to immediate confrontation. Instead, it entails having a private conversation with the individual after the event. In this context, questions and explanations are employed to help the person understand why their behavior or words were problematic.
Calling Forward: Going a step further than addressing the issue, this approach seeks to turn discomfort into a learning opportunity. It involves suggesting actions that can be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The choice between calling out, calling in, or calling forward depends on the context and the impact of the behavior or language in question. Understanding when and how to employ these strategies is crucial for fostering a culture of inclusivity.
Positive Masculinity: Nurturing a New Narrative
In the pursuit of fostering a more inclusive and empathetic society, Daniele highlights the significance of redefining masculinity in a positive light. He emphasizes that incorporating men into diversity and inclusion strategies is crucial. Daniele encourages organizations to develop engaging men strategies, a facet often overlooked.
He also dedicates substantial effort to promoting inclusive leadership. His programs, often spanning nine to twelve months, focus on individual and collective growth. They emphasize that fostering qualities like vulnerability and empathy takes time and necessitates a safe space for reflection and experimentation.
One of the central themes Daniele addresses is the struggle men face in expressing vulnerability due to societal expectations. To address this, he facilitates men’s-only spaces, where participants explore topics like positive masculinity and delve into their feelings. By encouraging men to confront their own biases and vulnerabilities, these discussions aim to transform their perspectives and behaviors.
Furthermore, Daniele underlines the importance of addressing patriarchal attitudes ingrained in society, as they perpetuate harmful stereotypes for both men and women. Educating the younger generation and challenging conventional norms are crucial steps in dismantling these harmful narratives.
In his commitment to promoting positive masculinity and combating gender-based violence, Daniele has recently become an ambassador for White Ribbon UK, a global movement that encourages men to take an active role in ending violence against women and girls.
White Ribbon’s mission aligns with Daniele’s dedication to fostering a more empathetic and inclusive society, where harmful stereotypes and violence have no place. By joining White Ribbon, Daniele aims to inspire others to stand up against gender-based violence and challenge harmful norms. You can join Daniele and countless others in making a White Ribbon Promise and become an ally in ending men’s violence against women.
Daniele’s work underscores that fostering a more empathetic and inclusive society begins with education, self-reflection, and the dismantling of restrictive gender norms. By redefining masculinity in a positive context and promoting empathy, we can create a more equitable and understanding world for all.
In a world where gender equality remains a crucial issue, Daniele Fiandaca’s work through Token Man Consulting serves as an inspiring beacon of hope. By involving men in the conversation, challenging damaging stereotypes, and promoting positive masculinity, we can collectively take significant strides toward a more inclusive and equitable society. It’s a journey that demands courage, empathy, and, most importantly, the collaborative efforts of individuals of all genders united in the pursuit of a brighter and fairer future.