Walking the Walk, and Other Actions for Allies

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

Image for post
Image for post
Photo of newborn baby held be a man, with their foreheads touching.By Josh Willink from Pexels

1. Encourage paternity leave

As reported in the WSJ, tech company Olark had its CEO and COO take paternity leave at the same time, and the business didn’t suffer. By doing so, these leaders sent a strong signal that taking paternity leave is supported and encouraged by the company.

Why is this a big deal? Well, it turns out that in an 11 nation study, few men took more than just a few days of parental leave without an explicit endorsement to do so. By not taking it, what are the men saying or thinking about people who do take leaves for family needs?

Instead, let’s support and encourage parental leave of all kinds. And share these tips from that article about how to be make the most of it:

  • Plan ahead to delegate work and set boundaries around parenting time.
  • Take at least a month off if possible to maximize the benefits.
  • Don’t plan to accomplish much beyond infant care and basic chores.
  • Spend time as a solo caregiver, to build confidence and a stronger bond with your child.
  • Use the time away to work out a satisfactory sharing of chores with your partner or spouse.

2. Report harassment on behalf of victims

Chloe Grace Hart, a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Stanford University, ran a national survey to understand how reporting harassment impacts a women’s career. In an article in Fast Company, she wrote about the results, which showed survey participants were reluctant to promote Sarah, a fictitious woman who had reported sexual harassment. (By contrast, other participants, who weren’t told Sarah had reported sexual harassment, did recommend a promotion for her.)

“Simply by following the rules–using her company’s designated procedure to report the sexual harassment–Sarah’s career advancement was jeopardized.”

Allies, here’s how we can help people like Sarah. When we witness harassment, ask the victim if we can report it on their behalf. So their career won’t suffer simply by filing a report themselves.

3. Push back on asking job candidates for personal info

In the U.K., resumes tend to include photos & personal info. If this sounds like a recipe for bias, you’re right.

In a recent study done in the U.K., applications from young white men were:

  • 1.8 times more likely to be selected for interview than ones from 50-year-old white men
  • 2.3 times more likely to be selected than those from 50-year-old white women
  • 2.6 times more likely to be selected than those from 50-year-old black men
  • 3 times more likely to be selected than those from 50-year-old black women

If your company requests a photo or personal information (regardless of where you’re located), push back. It’s an important step in creating a less biased and fair interview process.

4. Provide menstrual products in *all* restrooms

The city of Brookline, MA announced that they’re providing free menstrual products in both male and female bathrooms — as not all people who have a period identify as female.

Does your company do the same? If not, ask the powers-that-be why not. After all, if a small city (with tax-payer funded budgets) can do it, why can’t you?

5. Post transcripts for your podcasts

Got a podcast? If so, follow this best practice for people who can’t listen to audio: provide written transcripts for your shows. (Thank you to Ian Coldwater for this idea.)

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

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store