Male allies can be defined as men being committed to building relationships with women, expressing as little sexism in their own behavior as possible, understanding the social privilege conferred by their gender, and demonstrating active efforts to address gender inequities at work and in society.
What can you do to be a better male ally for women?
- Listen, hear women’s stories, validate their experiences and don’t interrupt. Generous, world-class listening requires focus, sincerity, empathy, refusal to interrupt, and genuine valuing of both her experience and her willingness to share it with you.
- Give credit where it’s due and spread awareness of barriers and discrimination that women face.
- Advocate for women’s leadership and equality at work. Challenge stereotypes and encourage changes that support a safe, more transparent workplace.
- Vote for female leaders you believe in. Educate yourself on political candidates, show your support and volunteer.
- Step up at home, share the household chores responsibility and ask what you can do to have an equal partnership. Find a plan that works for both of you.
- Hold other men accountable. Make it clear that you don’t accept sexist (or racist, homophobic, etc) language
- Understand your privilege as a man. Use that privilege and power you have to create space and advocate for others.
- Remember, it’s not about you. Ask women how you can amplify, not replace or usurp existing gender parity efforts. Refrain from taking center stage, speaking for women, or mansplaining how women should approach gender equity efforts.
Let’s continue to learn and work together to advance gender equality.
Sources: Refinery29, Harvard Business Review
This article was originally published in the December edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post Life and Style magazine