Originally published November 4, 2021 , updated on November 30, 2021Reading Time: 5 minutes
The fight for gender equality in the workplace is not something new. It is no secret that men out-earn women across the world. Even when men and women hold the same jobs and titles, reports show that men are paid more than women to carry out the same tasks.
Gender disparity has been around for as long as men and women have shared the workplace. Women have been fighting for equal rights and equal pay for decades. But many men have joined in this fight too. They’re looking for ways to show allyship to women in the workplace.
Many companies are also actively seeking ways to be more inclusive and promote gender diversity and equality in their place of work. A lot of people and organisations want to be allies to their female staff and team members. But some people aren’t sure how to do this exactly.
As a company, Goodman Lantern is passionate about closing the gender pay gap. Not only that, but as a leading content creation and marketing agency, Goodman Lantern has an inclusive and diverse hiring policy. We’ve learnt – and continue to learn – many ways in which to be an ally to our team members. Here’s what we strive to do and some allyship actions that you can take, too.
Listen to Your Team Members
A good first step is to listen to your coworkers and team members. The chances are that they will have loads they need you to know about when it comes to gender inequality and how you can be a better ally.
They will also be able to highlight what your team lacks, what the organisation can do more of, and how individuals can play a bigger and better role in creating equality in the workplace. Don’t just listen to respond, listen to learn. And be sure to avoid invalidating how your colleagues feel after they open up to you.
Educate Yourself on Gender Equality
Google is your friend. You can google terms such as ‘allyship actions’. There are so many articles out there about this and there are many resources that you can learn from. Make the effort to educate yourself through research.
While chatting to your colleagues is great, it’s also not their job to educate you. You should make the effort in your own time to do some reading and learning. Then, use your knowledge and privilege to contribute to gender equality in the workplace.
Speak Up for Your Colleagues
Keeping quiet when you see something wrong makes you part of the problem. If you see a woman on your team being treated badly, speak up. If you see someone else taking credit for the work of women in your team, speak up. If you see women being overlooked for promotions and increases, speak up.
The more people who speak up about inequality and actions that encourage this behaviour, the quicker things will change. This is something that needs to come from people who are in positions of privilege.
Often women feel alone in their fight if they hear no one else speaking up. If you speak up, they will know that they have an ally in you and that they are not alone.
Be Quiet When Needed
We’re not trying to contradict ourselves here. We don’t mean you should be quiet when you witness the unfair treatment of women. Here, we mean you should be quiet when a woman can and wants to make her voice heard. Don’t be loud in a situation that requires a woman’s voice. Don’t assume that you know as much as she does about gender inequalities. Women experience it first-hand all the time, so their perspectives differ and deserve to be heard.
Let’s use an example of a team meeting. Perhaps your manager asks the women around the table what they can do to make the workplace a better environment for them. Do not answer if you do not identify as a woman. This is not your space.
This is an excellent time to be quiet and listen.
Educate Others and Teach Them Allyship Actions
When you know better, you do better. Use the knowledge that you have about allyship actions and share it with others in your workplace and your circle.
When an opportunity arises, speak up about how to be a better ally. You can even create opportunities when you are out to dinner with friends, or over drinks. Ask your friends and family how they are showing that they are allies. You will be surprised at how many people want to be better allies. They just aren’t sure how they can be.
Use Your Position to Implement Changes in Hiring Policies
This one is for managers and business owners. If you have the power to change hiring policies, do so. Make your hiring policies more inclusive. This includes making job adverts more inclusive in terms of language, offering flexibility in how people work, and where they work from. Ensure that you actively look for women to fill some jobs.
Also, be clear about your inclusive policies and goals in the recruitment process. Being upfront about it will attract the right candidates to join your company and organisation.
Have Social Events During Work Hours
It’s well-known that a lot of deals and verbal agreements happen outside of the office. This used to happen on the golf course. These days, these events typically include dinner or after-work drinks at a bar.
When these small social events take place, there’s a lot that happens or gets said. Anyone who misses them often feels out of the loop the next day. In many instances, this is women. The hard truth is that women carry much of the responsibility at home and have to get home to take care of things.
Make these events easy to attend by hosting them during work hours. It could be lunch or a quick drink before the official close of business at the end of the day. This small change could make a big difference.
There is honestly a lot more that can be done or said when it comes to allyship actions. This is a good place to start though. As you do more research, you will learn about more ways to promote gender equality in the workplace. And you will soon become a strong ally for your team members.