As a teacher turned marketer, I went from a female-majority career to being the only woman in the office.
I don’t regret this transition.
It’s opened up opportunities I never knew were possible: a network of passionate startup folk, higher income for my family, the discovery of new skills and potential.
But in the state that continually ranks worst for gender equality, this transition also made me hyper-aware of the need to create allies, not enemies.
My male allies have lifted me
Personally, my male sponsors helped me negotiate a 50% raise when I was out of pay parity, have advocated for me for promotions and speaking opportunities, and have given me radical feedback that has driven greater success.
Men and women—everyone needs to work together to create more equitable companies.
And gender allyship is only one part of the equation.
Allyship extends beyond gender
While I am a woman and mother who has experienced poverty and a career transition, I am also white, educated, straight, and able-bodied—and because of that I have power.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to deconstruct this power and privilege. I know both of these words can be a trigger for some.
To me, “privilege” means I was born white to a middle class American family with generational wealth and deeply rooted values of hard work, education, and morality. That has given me a lot of advantage in this world.
In a Ted Talk by Jodi-Ann Burey, she challenged me—and all of us with “the power of [our] positions and the protection of [our] whiteness”—to take on the challenge of leading with authenticity.
To not ask unprotected groups to assume that risk, when we haven’t done the work that makes it safe to do so.
To be allies.
In the book, “White women,” by Saira Rao and Regina Jackson, they explain how white women occupy a unique space; we “can oscillate between [our] gender and [our] race, between being the oppressed and the oppressor.”
In this workshop, we’ll talk about both experiences.
Men, you can be better allies for women and all marginalized groups.
And women, you have a lot of power to build bridges towards intersectional feminism.
Join our workshop tomorrow
Tomorrow, Velshay Stokes and I are cracking allyship wide open—talking about what allyship is and is not, how you can acknowledge your own power, and bite-size ways you can be a better ally today.
Whether you’re brand new to the allyship discussion or you could be leading the workshop for us, we’d love to chat with you.
Save your seat here: rachelcottam.com/workshop/