In working with successful men and women leaders throughout my career, and in my research, there is a clear and integral role for women helping one another, as well as the importance of men supporting women. We rarely recognize the “male allies” behind successful women, and this book is intended to help men and women understand the importance of “male allies,” and also to provide strategies, tools, and ideas for women and men to partner together for gender equality.
From our research, we believe that feminism failed to produce results because it was negatively perceived as “man haters” and left out 50% of the population in its cause. Now is the time to showcase examples of what good looks like, and the man’s role in creating positive change. As many of the male allies we interviewed said, it’s the small things that make a big difference. From everyday men in business, to men in academia, to executive women leaders, to bestselling authors, to Ted Talk speakers, we interviewed dozens of extraordinary men that have done ordinary, and extraordinary things to support women.
This is not a tug of war; it’s not a zero sum game. We all stand to benefit when we welcome men into the conversation about gender equality. We’re not going to solve this problem as women alone. We need the support of male allies to win together. And, as we found in our research, there are benefits for both women and men. It’s a win-win.
There are four key areas that we believe holistically represent what male allies do to support women and what women do to engage male allies. It truly is a collaboration across genders.
- Heart: How Men Channel the Women They Empathize, and How Women Start the Dialogue with the WIIFM
- Story: How Men Ask for HERStory, and How Women Share Their Story
- Speaking: How Men Speak up with Her, and How Women Speak Up with Him
- Work-Life: How Men Do the Fair Share, and How Women Practice Self-Care
Channel the Women They Empathize
- Think About What You Want for Your Daughter, Mother, or Spouse. Strategies and tools to leverage strong women in your life and transfer that support to other women professionally and personally.
- Look for a Woman that You Can Positively Impact. The importance of aligning fit with women you support.
- Be Her Ally, Not Her Father. Acknowledgment of what male allies are best able to provide, and mistakes to avoid.
Ask for HERStory
- Ask Her Questions. Strategies and tools to learn more about women personally and professionally.
- Focus on Her Strengths. Techniques to redirect and promote positive thinking.
- Coach Her to Success. Coaching tips to promote self-discovery and facilitate her own success.
Speak up with Her
- Meet the Wharton 22’s. Stories from interviews of male ally organization at Wharton.
- Be Her Voice When She is Not There. Know what she wants and her strengths to speak up for women not in the room.
- Mentor Her. Mentoring tips to guide her and help her learn from your experience.
Do the Fair Share
- Be “All In.” Interview story from author Josh Levs about the importance of men as fathers.
- Divide and Conquer. Strategies and tools to divide household and family work as a team.
- Have a Plan. Tips to co-create a plan that works for your family.
Start the Dialogue with the WIIFM
- WIIFM: What’s In It For Men. Data that illustrates the benefits of more inclusive workplaces and men that support women at home.
- It’s Not a Zero Sum Game. Stories and examples of win-win techniques to make the pie bigger, rather than win-lose for men and women.
- Give Men the Chance to Give. Tips for women to let go and how to allow others to give to you.
Share Their Story
- Know Your Why. Exercises and questions to self-discover your purpose and why.
- Have a Plan. Strategies and tools to build your plan aligned with your why.
- Be the Change You Want to See. The importance of modeling what good looks like and supporting women through storytelling.
Speak Up with Him
- Teach Him How You Want to be Treated. Tips to share with men about how best to support you.
- Ask for What You Want. Strategies to start the dialogue and intentionally say what you want and do not want from his support.
- Draw Clear Boundaries. The importance of expectation setting in the relationship and clear objectives.
- Work Life Balance is Impossible. Stories from interviews about work life balance challenges.
- You Can Only Make Others as Happy as You are Yourself. Stories and strategies from women about aligning your why with your plan and how to make others happy around you.
- Give Intentionally. Techniques to give, when to say “no,” and how to ensure your give is aligned with your why.
Conclusion: The Male Ally Challenge
- How to Multiply Our Male Allies. A call to action for men to spread the word to other men.
- Strategies for Organizations to Encourage Male Allies. Stories and examples of what good looks like inside organizations embracing male allies.
- Platforms for Change. Social media, events, and materials to support the change for yourself, your family, and/or your organization.