Is it okay for a guy to attend a women’s event?

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Photo by Cpl. Natalie Rostran ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Over here at The Male Allies Project, we’ve been digging into the question, “Is it okay for a guy to attend a women’s event?”

We spoke with both women and men to get their perspective. We ran a brief Twitter poll. We asked event organizers about their policies. We did some searching online.

Not surprisingly, there are pros and cons.

First, the pros.

By attending a women’s conference, event, or meeting, men can:

And there’s an upside for women when men attend these events. Women can:

On the flip side…there’s always a flip side…

“Guys at professional events are always hitting on me.”

“They’re only there to sell me something.”

“They just want to check a box on their personal diversity scorecard.”

“They’re annoying: desperate to find candidates to increase their company’s diversity ratio.”

Even with these concerns, we believe that allies have a lot to gain from attending women’s events AND that women benefit when allies come to their events. We encourage you to go to at least one this year. Just make sure:

  1. You’ll be welcome. (Not sure? Ask the organizer.)
  2. You’re clear on your intentions (Our suggestion? To become a better ally.)
  3. You’re prepared to listen and learn.

Oh, and one last thing. From personal experience, expect to see women in the men’s restrooms.

Becoming an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

Together, we can — and will — make a difference.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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