Moran Cerf

Moran Cerf is a professor of neuroscience and business (Kellogg School of Management) and the Alfred P. Sloan professor (American Film Institute; ‘AFI’).

He is one of the speakers at the Fast Forward Forum 2019. Find out more at

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the business?

A friend of mine, a gender research academic, was telling me about new research to show how gender equality in the workplace will financially benefit businesses.

Giving women more maternity leave makes them better workers, which boosts business and finances. Half of all customers are also women, so understanding them can boost business (even if you don’t care about equality). These are just a few of the many ways businesses can benefit financially from equality.

However, explaining equality to people in this way is a mistake. If you only discuss the business benefits, you are boiling equality down to finances. The main point is that it’s the right thing to do, and it would be the right thing to do, even if it was bad for business.

If you frame equality about finances, you’re missing the point. Equality isn’t about finances, it’s about doing the right thing.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

They are equally welcome.

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?

My field of academia is very outside the norm. It’s progressive and relatively equal. I don’t see inequality much in my workplace.

However, in my job, I do spend a lot of time talking to companies. I talk to them about the brain – an objective topic which doesn’t look at gender. I’ve noticed that at the end of each talk, there is almost 100% of the time a question about the difference between men and women.

People are yearning for an explanation of why the world is the way it is. They look at biology because it’s objective, and hope this can provide us with some explanation. Although my field is objective, people try to pull us into this conversation because they hope scientists will give them some answers.