Eduard Meelhuysen is VP and GM, EMEA at cloud security company, Bitglass.
Eduard joined Bitglass as Head of EMEA in 2016.
He has over 19 years experience managing and growing technology businesses. Eduard doesn’t want his team to be an old boy’s club; he believes that diversity spawns creativity and productivity.
Why do you support the HeForShe campaign?
A productive workplace needs a balance of women and men. It is crucial to business success, in my opinion. Men and women are as capable as each other, and having a melting pot of different personalities generates better ideas, brings new perspectives and makes for innovation.
Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?
We now live and work in a world where gender is largely irrelevant to the jobs that we do – whether that’s being a stay-at-home parent, saving lives in an operating theatre, or running the country. With women making up nearly 50 per cent of the workforce, it would be totally self-defeating not to consider them in equal measure. When I’m building my team I don’t consider a person’s gender. First and foremost it’s about the experience and qualifications that person can offer.
Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?
Everywhere you look there are groups who aim to promote a particular cause, whether that’s the BBC’s Sports Relief to tackle people who live tough lives or the Time’s Up against sexual harassment in the workplace. People who are passionate about a topic can be the most effective drivers for change. When it comes to creating female equality it makes complete sense for women to be at the forefront – but this should not discourage men from supporting these initiatives too. Everyone has a part to play, regardless of gender.
What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?
Ultimately it’s about getting men to realize that they are part of the solution to stamping out gender inequality. Adopting a mind-set that’s gender neutral is key
Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?
Yes, I‘ve mentored employees and co-workers of both genders.
Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?
The real difference I have noticed with the women I’ve mentored is that they are more open to receiving, and acting upon, constructive feedback.