In honor of Women’s History Month, we brought Sonya Dreizler to Grow to share what it means to be an ally to women and how we can start changing the status quo in a male-dominant industry.


A recent study found that women represent only 18.1% of U.S. financial advisors. There's so much work to be done to shrink the disparity, and women can’t do it alone. They need male allies to help close the gap.


What is an ally?

An ally is someone who supports groups to which they do not belong. For example, a man can be an ally to women by treating them equally to their male counterparts. This looks like providing opportunities for advancement, mentoring, and most importantly, listening to women in the workplace and understanding how you can best support them. 

Being an active ally doesn’t have to come with a lot of fanfare; it’s showing up to do the work, and in many cases, it happens quietly in the background. 

For example, let’s say you’re a male ally. You’re interviewing two final candidates to fill an intern position. 

The first candidate,  “Chad” isn’t the most qualified, has never worked with a financial advisor before, but he reminds you a lot of yourself when you were younger. You think with the right coaching, he might be able to excel in this role. Plus, his dad and your uncle golf together at the same country club that you often visit with clients. 

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.

 



About Grow


Grow by Altruist is a show dedicated to bringing business growth advice to advisors, by advisors. I'm your host Dasarte Yarnway and each week I sit down with industry professionals as they share their best ideas around attracting new prospects, building a successful firm, and keeping clients happy. Watch more episodes here.