How to be an ally in the workplace

Inclusion and allyship are at the top of every business priority list, but we don’t always know where to start.

We need male allies who support safe and equitable teams. That’s why I’m sharing 11 of my favorite tactics to be a better ally in the workplace—actions that you can take today to work towards gender equality. 

Note: While these tactics are addressed to men as allies, the same actions could be taken by women and others as they support LGBTQ coworkers, people of color, and anyone else experiencing discrimination at work.  

11 ways to be an ally in the workplace

1. Amplification

When a woman makes a point in a meeting, repeat it and give credit to its author. Learn more.

2. Parent out loud

When you leave work early for a dance recital or parent-teacher conference, say it out loud. This gives permission to mothers to do the same. Learn more.

3. Say “I believe you”

Give women the benefit of the doubt. Rather than questioning their stories, say “I believe you. Tell me more.” Learn more.

4. Cold calling

Call on a woman to speak first in discussions. If needed, let her know ahead of time so she’s prepared. 

5. Include women in hiring 

Include at least one woman on every hiring panel. Invite women from other departments if needed. Learn more.

6. Address the “we”

Leverage your in-group identity to respond to sexism for all men. Say “That’s not who we are” or “That’s not what we do.”

7. Hold the interruptions

Initiate a no-interruptions rule for new pitches or presentations. This applies to both male and female presenters.

8. No dinner meetings

If you’re worried about appearances, eliminate casual networking dinners that give unfair access to men. Learn more.

9. Say “ouch”

When you hear a sexist comment, say “Ouch.” It interrupts the conversation and buys you time to think about what you really want to say next. Learn more.

10. Let her cry

When you admit you’re “afraid” of women crying at work, you can move past it. Acknowledge your fear, let her cry, and don’t hold back feedback. Learn more.

11. Formal mentorship

Launch (or participate in) a formal mentorship program at your company. Go out of your way to advocate for your mentee in public settings and introduce them to your network.

%d bloggers like this: