Be an Ally – Getting Men Involved

As a regular part of leading the DISH Women’s Network (DWN) for the last three years, I’ve often been asked why we keep the Network open to men. Before we launched the Network, we heavily debated what to name it, constantly asking ourselves, “How can we build a community for women to grow together and pursue equality in the workforce while encouraging men to be active members of the group?”

Women make up 49% of the workforce. However, these numbers dwindle with each promotion and level of advancement. The reality is: the c-suite, boards and executive chains of companies remain heavily skewed towards male leadership. This means that women AND men must work together to reach parity. Beyond that – we need managers and teammates to take active roles in ensuring their female colleagues have fair and flourishing work experiences.

To that end, I am often asked how we get men involved.

My standard answer is this: everyone has a mother, daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, partner, friend or peer who is being negatively impacted by this issue. Not only is this inequality bad for the women in their lives, but it is bad for business. Gender diversity in leadership strongly correlates with higher returns, share price and profitability1. A Gallup study found that diverse teams offer new viewpoints, ideas and insights, leading to better problem solving and decision making2. Diversity also allows companies to better serve an increasingly diverse customer base.

So, if we know equality in the workplace is good for business, and we know that it impacts half of our population, how do we get men involved? Here are a few ideas:

1. Invite them. If you are attending an event, ask members of your team and male colleagues to come along.
2. Share the facts. Be ready to answer the “Why should I care?” with fact-based, engaging answers.
3. Rely on resources. Direct people to the resources listed below (and others) where they can learn more.
4. Lead by example. Be an ally. Advocate for women and create a culture of inclusion on your teams. Talk about why you care       and share your own experiences and stories.

On Tuesday, May 16, from 12 to 1 p.m. in Mt. Elbert, we will host an Ally Panel with our DWN Executive Sponsor Vivek Khemka, DWN Steering Committee member Robb Origer, DWN Liaison Jeremy Van Essen and DWN Member Mike Danley. Don’t miss to the opportunity the listen to some of our leaders discuss the importance of being workplace allies and advocates, and to ask questions about how you and your coworkers can help to close the gender equality gap.

Below you will find helpful resources for learning more.

7 Tips for Men Who Want to Support Equality. Read more
Getting to 50/50; What’s In It For Men. Read more
The Business Case for Gender Diversity. Read more
Being a “Feminist” Dad. Read more
How To Support Your Partner as a True Equal. Read more
Tons of info for men who want to be allies. Read more

We look forward to seeing you at our Ally Panel on May 16th!
Michelle Calkins
DWN President

1:The Business Case for Gender Diversity;


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