Skip to main content Skip to Footer


Gender equality is not a women's issue: It's a human one

By Michelle Cullen, Managing Director and Head of Diversity & Inclusion-Ireland, Accenture

Connect with Michelle Cullen's Profile on LinkedIn. This opens a new window.

"Change is essential so the next generation can thrive and do what they want at every level based on ability and irrespective of gender."

When I graduated from university, I really thought that gender equality was a given. I thought that my generation would live and love in a society where historical assumptions on gender were no longer an issue.

But when I look around today, I see that many of the older and tiresome assumptions about women and men in our society haven’t really changed that much. Women are not represented well in many aspects of public life—in politics, in boardrooms, the theater, the arts, media of all kinds…and also very significantly, in science and technology, which is just a chronic problem. Likewise, assumptions about men’s role, including as parents, for example, are often outdated.

Gender inequality has resulted in wasted talent and missed opportunities. Change is essential for the next generation to thrive and do what they want at every level based on ability and irrespective of gender. A generation where parenting and caring for others is highly valued, irrespective of gender.

Too often, discussions of gender equality have focused on what women need to do differently: But driving real change is going to take the best thinking of our men and women—to share stories, to understand, and to act.