Why Male or “Majority-Group” Allies?
Male or “majority-group” allies are key for successful change efforts in technology for at least two reasons.
First, to date, in technical organizations, men hold the majority of formal leadership positions, so they are often in a better position to make change — whether it be in subtle everyday moments or in changing larger business systems.
Second, increasing diverse participation is not a women’s issue or an issue that is only relevant to women and other underrepresented groups. Diversity and inclusivity are business issues, and they are human issues. People of all genders are held to restrictive standards around gender, racial, and other identities that limit their potential and the kinds of things they are able to do. Research also shows that businesses profit from diverse perspectives that bring innovation and company competitiveness.
Since these are issues that impact all of us, as well as the business, we should all come together to work on them. Additionally, recognizing the benefits of increased diversity to all employees dismantles claims that “special privileges” or “special help” is being given to underrepresented technologists.
What Should Men Be Advocating For?
In general male allies advocate for and work to create more inclusive environments or technical cultures that will ultimately benefit everyone. Avoid approaches that focus on “helping” or sometimes even “fixing” individual women. These approaches are not research-based and can come across as patronizing, even when well-intentioned. See our Critical Listening Guide for more information and for tips on avoiding approaches not backed by research. The Male Allies Stage 2 toolkit identifies concrete research-based actions male allies can take to advocate for changes in technical environments. Ultimately these changes will create workplaces that are more inclusive for all employees, not just women.
Raising Awareness Toolkit: Setting the Stage for Successful Male Ally Efforts
This toolkit provides resources for putting together an event or series of events to raise awareness about the role male (or other majority-group) allies can play in increasing diverse participation in technical workplaces.
NCWIT Tips: Who to Invite to Your Event and How
NCWIT Tips: Planning Your Event
NCWIT Tips: Selecting and Prepping the Speakers/Panelists for Your Event
Sample Panel Questions
Sample Email Invite
Sample Male Allies Presentation
Action Toolkit: Strategies Male Allies Can Start Using Today (and Beyond)
This toolkit identifies actions that male allies (or anyone really) can take to accelerate change efforts and create more inclusive environments. For actions that you can start implementing today, check out the “Start Small, Start Now” section.
Start Small, Start Now: Seven Bias Interrupters Male Allies (Or Anyone Really) Can Start Using Today
Male (or other “majority-group”) allies are key for successful change efforts in majority-minority workplaces or environments. While anyone can make change, majority-group allies (e.g., male, white, heterosexual, able-bodied employees) often have more power and are in a better position to make significant change. Below are 7 ways male allies can get involved starting today!
Tip 1: Ensure productive meetings
Tip 2: Listen for and correct “personality penalties”
Tip 3: Interrupt “fixed mindset” talk
Tip 4: Interrupt task assignment biases (e.g. “office housework”)
Tip 5: Provide legitimate encouragement
Tip 6: Know & improve your own “ratio”: Expanding your contact list
Tip 7: Talk to other potential allies
Anyone, not just men, can take the actions listed here but often, in the current technology organization, men are often in a better position to do so. It’s also important to remember that many of these tips are simply good management strategies. As a result, implementing these tips will improve the environment not only for underrepresented groups but for everyone.