#MeToo, #TimesUp, and terminations of high-profile executives accused of sexual misconduct has spurned a conversation among some men asking, “How can we promote gender equity in the workplace?” Here are five ways we as men can make work environments safer and more inclusive for everyone. These tips can help a man be a better ally in the workplace.
5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace
Don’t ask her out
At work we interact with many different people. We may have similar interests with some women — get along and become friends. As we socialize, feelings may grow and you could start viewing her romantically. Full stop. Most women do not come to work to get a date. This is not the bar. Don’t ask for her number. She is not there to be objectified. Keep it professional.
Do not talk over her
Many times in a meeting, a man will take over the conversation and interrupt a woman when she is speaking. Whether intentional or not, this is a malicious act which sends a message that her contributions are not important and hold little value. We need to stop doing this. Let her talk and finish her thought. You can wait.
Do not gaslight
A woman’s experience in the workplace will always be different than ours. From subtle microaggressions to blatant harassment, her existence in a business environment is full of challenges we cannot imagine. This is why it is important for men to believe our female coworkers when they say they have been victims of abuse. Believe her when she says someone has been harassing her. Do not downplay it and tell her it is something she imagined. In doing so, you create a distrustful work environment by not encouraging other women to come forward.
No foul language
One of the best things a man can do when he hears misogynistic and sexist remarks from other men is to push back. Gently, but firmly, tell them those type of comments are not OK. It creates a hostile work environment, which helps no one. We need to let our fellow male coworkers know this is not acceptable, nor is the workplace the setting for that kind of language.
Hire more women
In my time in IT, there has always been an overwhelmingly male environment. I would always wonder why aren’t their more women working in technology? The simple answer is because we are not hiring them. Evia, a virtual event solutions company conducted a poll and found that women hold only 20% of tech jobs. In order for us to make the work environment more balanced and different points of view found, we as men need to hire more women.
Black Enterprise Contributors Network
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