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Men as Allies: Engaging Men to Advance Women in the Workplace

Bentley University Centre for Women and Business
This report provides an overview on the topic of men as allies in the advancement of gender equality in the workplace. It was created based on a literature review, synthesis of current research, and analysis of media coverage, and aims to provide a brief, accessible breakdown of men’s role as allies and how to engage men to further the cause of gender equality.

To help increase men’s awareness of gender bias:

  • Go personal and professional: Impact men’s thinking through experience sharing.
  • Define self-interest: Find relevancy of training initiatives to their jobs
  • Recognize barriers: Address discouraging factors such as apathy, fear, lack of time, etc.

To provide good training:

  • Ensure a sense of inclusion: Any form of effective male allies training will ensure that men feel included in the discussion. If men feel part of the diversity workforce, they will be more engaged.
  • Identify male privilege: Help men better understand the potentially confining aspects of masculine norms.
  • Appeal to a sense of fair play: Heightening men’s sense of fair play and engaging them in solution-building can be powerful strategies.
  • Tell stories: Personal stories can increase empathy and might increase awareness in a male colleague who has trouble understanding the struggles women or minorities face at work.
  • Use social proof: If a man feels like everyone else at work is supporting women, then he is more likely to support women as well. Influential managers can play a critical role here.
  • Make the business case: As multiple resources confirm, the most persuasive arguments for men to support diversity are business case arguments.

To learn step-by-step how to launch a men as allies initiative, click here.