SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The fight for gender equality got an unusual twist Thursday as a group of men in San Francisco were celebrated as "guys who get it."
Rayona Sharpnack has been advocating for women's rights for four decades with the Institute For Women's Leadership.
On Thursday, her organization took a moment to recognize the men fighting alongside them.
"If you ask any woman, 'Does this guy really get it?' they know what that means," said Sharpnack. "Men who aren't threatened by women's equality and women's leadership"
20 male C-level executives received the first ever "Guys Who Get It" awards at the event.
These men were credited with hiring more women, promoting women and creating an environment where everyone can succeed.
"You can't just hire a bunch of guys and think you're going to be world class," said Thomson Reuters CIO Rick King.
"We want this to be a moment in time where we can no longer say we don't know what to do," explained Sharpnack.
She marched for women in Washington D.C. this past weekend.
She says now more than ever we need to keep the conversation on equal pay and equal rights going.
"We just can't be quiet we have to say this isn't right and we can't just stand by and watch it happen," said Sharpnack.
She says some women were bothered by the idea of honoring male allies, which to her indicates how much more work needs to be done.
"When you have men and women working together for these social issues, that's the most powerful combination you can have," said Sharpnack.
"I think the greatest barrier for women in the workplace is first men, and second women who don't get it," agreed Legacy Award Recipient Ted Childs.
The award was a thank you to the men who are making the workplace more inclusive, and a message to any guys who don't quite "get it" that there's plenty of room at the table.
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