Sector News

How women can identify male allies in the workplace

May 7, 2022
Diversity & Inclusion

Women have faced significant obstacles attempting to climb up the ranks in the workplace. The journey continues to be fraught with many structural barriers that prevent them from gaining access to the same level of opportunities enjoyed by most men — from confidence hurdles, mommy-track narratives, boys’ clubs, and exclusion from professional and social networking to heightened barriers resulting from #MeToo, Covid-19, and racial violence. Women continue to struggle to find the support and advocacy they need and identify the allies who can help them.

Allyship is defined as a strategic mechanism used intentionally by individuals who strive to be collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators. Allies are deeply invested in challenging and disrupting the status quo, dismantling systemic inequities, and shifting the power structure within an organization. Allyship is a practice that needs to be embedded within an individual’s sense of everyday commitment to equity. Thus, an ally must be invested in the larger goals of fighting for equity and be accountable for his actions.

An ally’s behavior often works to reduce the amount of invisible labor expended by marginalized individuals in white male-dominated organizations. Allies work publicly and privately to change workplace practices, cultures, and policies that negatively impact marginalized groups. By building authentic and trusting relationships, engaging in public advocacy and sponsorship, and fighting injustice, allies help to create equitable professional and social spaces by strategically deploying their privilege in support of those less privileged.

Anyone and everyone can be an ally. But male allies who recognize and understand the importance of fostering an inclusive, welcoming, and equitable workplace culture can help break down the barriers that women face at work.

Since men often sit in powerful positions of organizations (particularly in male-dominated fields), women can work with these allies to help dismantle the systemic power structures that prevent equal opportunity for professional development and advancement — for themselves and the other women around them. Only then will women and other marginalized groups have the ability to fully contribute as equally valued employees toward an ever-evolving organization’s mission and values.

So how can women identify male allies in the workplace? In the following, we provide a guide to spotting a male ally. READ MORE

by Tsedale M. Melaku and Christoph Winkler


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