How important is it for men to be allies to their women colleagues especially in the tech sector? Where should one begin?
Being anally is important, but the key to making a difference is action. There are two actions I always recommend. The first is pay attention to who is included. Go out of your way to make sure female coworkers feel included and that they have a place in your meeting, in the conversation, and at your company. In February of this year, HBR published “Male Allyship Is About Paying Attention,” written by two strong male allies, W. Brad Johnson and David G. Smith. They offered a quick checklist to run through, which is below:
- Who’s in the meeting? Who is missing?
- Given the topic of discussion, who should be in the room discussing their work or serving as a subject-matter expert? Do the attendees match that list?
- Who’s sitting at the table? Who’s standing or sitting in an outer ring?
- Who’s speaking most of the time and who rarely contributes? Whose input hasn’t been solicited and who is being ignored?
- Who’s being interrupted? Who’s being dismissed?
The second step I recommend begins once a meeting has started. Men tend to be more assertive than their female counterparts, and this sometimes results in men iterating on ideas proposed by less assertive colleagues. As a facilitator or even as a participant, call this out and assign credit where it’s due. For example, an exchange might include phrasing such as, “That’s a great idea, Tom. But that sounds an awful lot like Heather’s idea. Heather, could you elaborate on what you proposed earlier?”
What is your favorite Quote? Can you share how it changed your life / helped you overcome a challenge?
In a bible study with a men’s small group a few years ago, we read the chapter of Luke. When we got to Luke 12:48, I knew I had found my life’s purpose. It reads, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” You see this interpreted in pop psychology as “with great power comes great responsibility”. But the concept of power is too narrow. Rather, to me this passage is about any blessing you’ve received. Reading these words cemented in me that my purpose is to leverage the gifts and blessings I have to help others – specifically others who are struggling or those that need help. I’m blessed and humbled to have recognized that many times the person that needs help the most is probably standing up behind the men seated at the conference table