Tips From the #GHC19 Male Allies Panel, and Other Actions for Allies

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

Panel of 4 participants, sitting with a moderator, in front of a screen with Grace Hopper Celebration
Panel of 4 participants, sitting with a moderator, in front of a screen with Grace Hopper Celebration
Photo of the GHC19 Male Allies panel, with Jennifer Brown (moderator), Evin Robinson, Bryan Liles, Wayne Barlow, and Michael Ellison

1. Maintain eye contact with someone who was interrupted

Try out Evin’s technique the next time you’re in a meeting and someone gets interrupted. Consider turbocharging it with a simple, “I’d like to hear so-and-so finish their thought.”

2. Call out offensive statements, even if no one in earshot is personally offended

3. Clear the lunch left-overs

As your meetings break up, look around. If there are mugs, pastry boxes, or other post-meeting detritus left on the table, take a minute to throw out the trash and bring the rest to the nearest kitchen — especially if you’re in a position of privilege or authority. Become a role model for others.

If you don’t, chances are the last woman to leave the room will feel compelled to clean up the mess.

4. Ask about the accessibility of products under construction

Think about what’s under construction in your company. An office build-out? A website revamp? A new software service? Don’t assume the people developing it will make it accessible. State it as a priority. Ask questions along the way. Make sure it happens.

5. Push back on pregnancy and caregiving bias

Actually, according to Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, “It’s the single strongest form of gender discrimination.”

In Better Allies, Karen shares this example of caregiving bias:

“I remember talking with a man on my staff who needed to fill a senior role on his team. When I asked if he planned to promote his top employee into the role, he replied that she had young children at home and he felt sure that she wouldn’t want all the travel that would come with the promotion. I countered, saying that this was her decision to make, not his. (He decided to make her the offer, which she accepted. She went on to totally rock the role.)”

This bias is real. Look out for it, and push back.

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

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✉️ This content originally appeared in our newsletter, 5 Ally Actions. Subscribe to get it delivered to your inbox every Friday.

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

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