The second person, “Tiffany” is a really strong candidate with prior experience. She’s also very active in the local Black professional women communities and is eager to learn as much as possible on the job, so she can ultimately one day start her own firm.
As a male ally, this is your chance to make a decision that will impact your firm. Choosing the more diverse candidate could push you to think outside the box, give an opportunity to someone who deserves it, and support a female that is clearly better suited for the position.
But most situations aren’t quite as clear-cut and sometimes being an ally is hard work. It’s having difficult conversations and choosing the right side of the argument.
How do you know when to be an ally?
The easiest way to be an ally is to listen. Listen to women in the workplace, seek out answers to questions you have from different female perspectives, have conversations and hear the narratives women tell.
A few common challenges professional women face are unequal pay, harassment, and lack of advocacy. Here are some examples of how to be an ally in these types of scenarios.
1. Salary Gap
Speaking about finances publicly should no longer be a faux pas. In order to understand when and why there are differences in pay, we need to get comfortable having open conversations about compensation. A true ally can show up for women in the workplace by being transparent with what they make and advocating for their female counterparts to be paid equally.
2. Listen and amplify
Sonya is well-known for her phrase, “We don’t do that here.” This is a powerful way to change the course of harassment happening in front of you. By using the word, “we,” you’ve coupled yourself with the person being harassed and let the aggressor know your stance on the situation. While this may diffuse the situation, it’s important to also support the victim, report the instance, or address it with Human Resources. Use your ability to amplify the issue to make sure it’s heard.
3. Be an advocate
While this might seem very similar to being an ally, an advocate is using your voice and actions to help women gain more opportunities. For example, if a fellow female advisor at your firm deserves a promotion but isn’t getting it, speak up for her. Or if you speak at conferences, ask the organizers what the ratio of male to female speakers. If it’s not a fair representation, ask them to feature more women—or better yet, recommend diverse female speakers that you know are looking for the opportunity.
When it comes to gender and race, diversity creates a stronger team. Having different experiences and backgrounds allow you to bring more innovative solutions to the table. Consider how you can become an ally to women—not just for the month of March, but for the long term.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video by the participants are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Altruist Corp or its subsidiaries. No compensation was provided.